The Leica M9: The Ultimate Street Photography Camera or Just Hype? My Practical Review

My old M9 Blacked our.

Leica M9

My Leica M9P* (gaffer tape upgrade) and 35mm Summilux 1.4. 

Background

About a few months ago, I finally achieved one of my lifetime goals: purchasing a digital Leica (the Leica M9 to be specific). Although I was enthralled by the camera the first month I tested it (when Leica loaned me one for my Paris trip as well as a 35mm Summilux) the initial glitz and glamor faded away. However after shooting with one, I knew I wanted to get one nonetheless for a variety of reasons (explained in this article).

For this review I am going to give you my honest review of the camera, not focusing much on the technical aspects (other sites have already done this to death) but how it actually performs when it comes to shooting street photography. Considering that I have only been shooting with the camera around 3 months—I am not an expert with the Leica M9. However having shot with it enough when it comes to street photography, I am very confortable discussing how it performs when shooting on the streets.

Micro 4/3rd Street Photographers Rejoice: New LEICA DG Summilux 25mm / F1.4 ASPH Announced

I am a huge fan of micro 4/3rds cameras, as I think they are a wonderful compromise between DSLR’s and point and shoots for street photography. Therefore it is great news to see that Leica has just announced a new 25mm f/1.4 lens (which equates to 50mm on a 2x crop factor). This can be a great lens for anybody shooting with any of the Olympus EP-series or the Panasonic GF-series. Also if you didn’t know, Henri Cartier-Bresson shot mostly with a 50mm focal length ;)

You can see some shots from it here (in Chinese).

Press release:

The New LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm / F1.4 ASPH. Lens Compatible With Panasonic LUMIX G Series of Compact System Cameras, Including LUMIX GF3

SECAUCUS, N.J., June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Panasonic today announced a new interchangeable Micro Four Thirds lens, the LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm/F1.4 ASPH. (H-X025), compatible with the company’s LUMIX G Series of compact system cameras (CSC), including the LUMIX GF3, which was also announced today. The LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm / F1.4 ASPH. lens features outstanding brightness of F1.4, and despite the high-performance, it also remains incredibly compact and lightweight. The lens’ brightness allows for a beautiful soft focus when shooting both photos and videos – without having to rely on a flash.

The LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm / F1.4 ASPH. lens adopts Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating technology on the surface of the lens, which helps dramatically minimize reflection at the entire visual light range (380nm-780nm). The technology encompasses an extra-low refractive index coating with nano-sized structure and results in the super-clear photo with dramatic reduction of ghost and flare.

The new lens system comprises of nine elements in seven groups using two aspherical lenses and one UHR (Ultra High Refractive) index lens. The newly developed UHR index lens and glass mold aspherical lenses achieve uniformed description from the center to the edges.

The lens’ versatile 25mm focal distance (Equivalent to 50mm on a 35mm camera) is suitable for wide variety of occasions, giving users the flexibility in composition, perspective and aperture control.  The lens is capable to take daily snapshots including scenic sunsets to dimly-lit indoor shots to the deliberately-creative shots using soft focus.

When mounted on the Panasonic LUMIX G Series digital cameras, the LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm/F1.4 ASPH. lens can take maximum advantage of Contrast AF system, which boasts both high accuracy and high speed for optimal photos. Furthermore, seven blades give the aperture a rounded shape that produces an attractively smooth effect in out-of-focus areas when shooting at larger aperture settings. The lens also features a metal mount, making it extremely durable – even when repeatedly changed.

The LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm / F1.4 ASPH. lens will be available in August 2011 and pricing will be announced approximately 30 days prior to shipping. For more information about Panasonic LUMIX G Series digital cameras and Micro Four Third lenses, please visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.

-Via Leicarumors

Micro 4/3rds users–is this a lens you would want to add to your camera bag?