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Leica M9 Digital Rangefinder Camera - Page 2

Leica M9 Digital Rangefinder Camera - Page 2

Index of Thorsten von Overgaard's user review pages covering Leica M9, Leica M9-P, M-E, Leica M10,
Leica M 240, Leica M-D 262, Leica M Monochrom, M 246  as well as Leica Q and Leica SL:

Leica M9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20   M9-P
Leica M10
V 1 2 3 4 5                             M10-P
Leica M 240
P 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44         What if?
Leica M-D 262 1 2                        
Leica Monochrom 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Leica Q 1 Leica Q2: 1   Leica TL2: 1 2              
Leica SL 1 2 3 4 5 6 Leica CL: 1 2             Books


The feeling of the Leica M9 - tool of the artist

By: Thorsten Overgaard


The pictures of Birgit Krippner (top of page and below here) are really going to get the pixel-peepers (people who enlarge digital images greatly to study the pixels so as to compare the "image quality" of different cameras) up their chairs.  Birgit Krippner produced these two images after having changed her camera from Nikon D700 to the Leica M9, and to me they illustrate how the Leica M9 is not a machine to create pictures, but a tool of the artist to produce emotions. I bet these images won't leave you for a while.

How the idea came about I'll leave to the viewer to think about. But can one imagine such an idea would come about with an autofocus camera?

Read the interview with Birgit Kippner on page 5.

Leica M9 sample photo by Birgit Krippner
Birgit Krippner, Leica M9 with 50mm Summilux-M f/1.4, 160 ISO.

Photo by Jonathan Slack. Leica M9 at 2500 ISO, 1/11 second, 35mm Summilux-M f/1.4.

Jonathan Slack of Great Britain was one of several photographers who had the opportunity to test the Leica M9 prototype (called Leica P8 or P-864) since June 2009 to help Leica stremline the camera and its software. In his September 9, 2009 review, Words, he says:
"Everyone has their pet wishes, and to fulfill all these wishes companies like Canon and Nikon have made increasingly complex cameras with more and more features, many of which are used rarely and by only a few people. With the Leica M9 it seems to me that Leica have added the features that people really need, but resisted the temptation towards over-complexity. Of course it isn’t perfect (otherwise how could they sell us an M10!)."

Leica M9 sample photo by Thorsten Overgaard
I've done a lot of photographs for The Old Town in Denmark the first week of Leica M9, and this is one of them. It's an outdoor evening shoot with a 2000w blonde light (3200K) as only light from left, and then normal tubes and tungsten lights in the house behind. Leica M9, 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0, 800 ISO

Leica M9 sample photo by Thorsten Overgaard
The goose wisperer, Leica M9 with 90 mm Tele-Elmarit f/2.8, 200 ISO.






The new lenses for Leica M9

Three interesting lenses saw the light months before the Leica M9 became a reality. All exremely lightstrong lenses that display an almost over-human control over light. The two Summilux-M lenese, Leica 21mm Summilux M f/1.4 and Leica 24mm Summilux-M f/1.4, and the fastest standard lens in the world, the 50mm Noctilux-M f/0.95.

Leica M9 with 24mm Summilux-M f/1.4 @ f/1.4, 400 ISO. It's actually a cropped version of the picture and was taken at 0.7 meter distance. Photo by Simon.

Simon who did the above picture, says of the 24mm Summilux-M f/1.4:
"Having read Sean's review of the 24 Lux and seeing the fringing he got wide open I did lots of shots at the dealer at things like lamp shades and dark flowers in a bright shop window, the kind of stuff that would show fringing. However, in all those pictures, whether at f/1.4 or smaller, I could not get it to occur, and my own opinion was that for 99% of pictures it probably wouldn't be a problem.
The picture is fully open. With a close focus distance of 0.7m you can get quite creamy backgrounds although not anything like with a 50 Lux or a 75 Cron. As the DOF is relatively large at f/1.4 (e.g. compared to a 50 Lux) you will always be able to make out what an object is. However, I find the OOF areas to be very nicely rendered."

In a time of less advanced lenses for digital...
Where "everybody else" seem to rationaize their lenses and take shortcuts by making less lightstrong lenses (because digital cameras can go higher in ISO why that is a more economical way than creating complicated, expensive and large lenses of exotic glass), Leica Camera AG seem determined to broaden the Summilux range of lenses. Summilux is the name of all f/1.4 lenses in the Leica lens range (Summicron for f/2.0 lenses, Elmarit for f/2.8 lenses).

Apart from the extra light the photographer get to work with, and thus enables him to photograph even more discrete in dark places, increasing aperture hole also influence dramatically the look of the photo. The depth of Field (DOF) becomes extremely narrow and demanding for the photographer. So much more fun, if that is the fun one is looking for. But also the ability to tell a story or direct the viewer by using selective focus: What is in focus is what attracts the eye, what is not becomes atmosphere.

What does f/1.4 mean?
For a lens to be f/1.4 the opening through the lens has to be the focal length divided with 1.4, which is why we don't see 500mm f/1.4 lenses around; the diameter of the open area where the light can pass through would have to be 500mm/1.4 in diameter = 360mm! It would be almost a suitcase of glass.
But a 21mm lens f/1.4 requires a aperture hole through of "only" 15mm. It may sound a lot easier than the 500mm lens f/1.4, but then consider that you work with a 90 degrees angle of view - you have to control light from 90 degrees rays so that the light hit the sensor and create a crisp and sharp picture without distortions.
I'm no expert, and hardly intereste in how they manage to do it, but I do know it involves a piece of paper, a pencil and a calculator to figure that one out. As well as very special glass qualities, hand-assembling with tight controle. Hence the prices of these small photographic jewels.

Read more about the Summilux-M lenses in the Steve Huff reviews with sample photos from the 21mm Summilux-M f/1.4 and the 24mm Summilux-M f/1.4.

Leica M9 as the reportage camera

My daughter and her boyfriend at the hairdresser. Something is definitely going on. Leica M with 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0, 400 ISO.

This one is for John Thawley I guess. Youth, light and great lenses, what's more to ask for. Leica M9 with Summicron-M f/2.0, 200 ISO.


As if that persons full cahracter was summed up in that one hand-expression. In fact, it was. Leica M9 with 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0.


My son asked me, "why are you driving with your camera" the other day. The Leica M9 hangs over the shoulder while I drive. Easier that way when I have to get in and out the car, and I don't forget it then.
It's extremely compact. A camera body and two extra lenses you can wear if you have a neck to hang the camera around and two pockets. And you're all set. Your battery will last for the day, and your 16GB card will hold about 400 pictures in uncompressed DNG. Nobody notice the camera and it doesn't say a thing. Those who does notice seem to feel charmed by it. Being shot by a Leica M is a compliment of some kind, judging from peoples reactions - you don't get the "you damn paparazia" eyes from bystanders that you some times get when shooting dSLR.

Things happen when you wear your camera. You get to see things and document them. My daughter likes to sit on my arm, and she fits right in above the camera. No problem, and thus the camea goes where we goes.


I like the mixed light on this one. Taken in the morning when I placed my daughter on the kitchen table in the kindergarten. Leica M9, 35mm Summicron-M f/2.0, 400 ISO. I wore my camera over the shoulder because I can .


A few hours later I had to pick her up as she had fallen on a step and had gotten a 8 mm long cut. We went to the hospital to get it cleaned and glued. Leica M9 and 35mm Summicron-M f/2.0, 800 ISO. Look how brave she looks, probably realized the potential of showing the pictures in the kindergarden.




It's like traveling in a time pocket, in a period of history where photographers were a welcomed part of life and portrayed it artistic and real. Somewhere between the time where cameras became mobile in 1920 and before they became obstructive in the 1970ies. There's a distinct difference between "standing behind a camera and looking at life" and being part of the scene.


The smaller camera, the more daring you get
msAlso, there's an interesting phenomen I'm discovering these days. Because it seems that the smaller the camera, the more daring you get with people. When you work with a dSLR it's like an unspoken agreement comes about between photographer and subject that "we're doing a picture now" and it becomes arranged or staged to some degree. Even if not said aloud.

With the M you have a choice of opearting stealth, or if you chose to stage a photo it's like people don't take the camera serious - but then at the same time sense this might be a better photo than with a huge camera. It's as if they're smiling inside and we're playing a fun game. Or if this is the moment they've been waiting for through all their career in front of all kinds of cameras. Finaly the right one.

I don't know, but I'm sensing something and I'm trying to define it and use it in a clever way.


Leica M9 with 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0, ISO 640 and very mixed light.


Vola! Made her own print.


Hung up for drying. It's like I'm not there though we all know I am. Leica M9 with 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0, 640 ISO.


This is how it looks - the small print compared with the one on the wall. This one is re-taged (do that again you just did), except they don't know when we start, when we shoot and when we're done, so they are not in character all the time.


Leica M9 with 21mm Super-Angulion f/3.4. 800 ISO inside the bakery.

I got 15 shots of his neck, then he finally looked what was going on. Leica M9 with 35mm Summicron-M f/2.0, 200 ISO.


Wedding photography with the Leica M9

Leica M9 as a camera for wedding photography
Leica M9 as a camera for wedding photography coming up next...
Leica M9 with 50 mm Summicron-M f/2.0, 200 ISO (the EXIF says 21mm but that is because part of the 6-bit coding on the lens was worn off).


Leica M9 wedding photography
Leica M9 with 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4, 400 ISO.


Leica M9 wedding photography
Leica M9 with 35mm Summicron-M f/2.0, 800 ISO.


Leica M9 and Leica R9/DMR comparison

Shooting this wedding, I also did "red carpet arrival" photos of all guests. For this I used daylight lamps, two KinoFlo 4Banks beauty lights and one ARRI 1,2 kW HMI lamp (see the article "Quality of Light" for more on what those lamps are), and then I used manual white balance setting.


A closer look. What interest me is not so much there is of edge sharpness but how lenses and sensors capture lgith and details in 3D. The left shot with the DMR is the 35-70mm/2.8 ASPH at 200 ISO and the right one is the Leica M9 with 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 at 400 ISO. The exposure is not exactly the same but you get a good impression of how close they are - actually. And that's a good thing, a very good ting.


Skin tones are right when white balance is
What is interesting is that the skin tones, tonality, details and overall is very much the same for the Leica M9 as the highly praised Leica DMR under these conditions: Which was 1) good quality light with 2) 5400 K daylight lamps, manual lightmetering with external lightmeter and 3) finished in Lightroom with minor adjustments.


In case you didn't notice before, skin tones comes in many different variants even within the same nationality. But they're the same from DMR to M9 in these pictures. Also note the shadow details and the general handling of light reflections in texture.


I have noticed that skin tones are a bit off on the Leica M0 with firmware 1.002 when I use the preset white balances (Tungsten, Shadow, Daylight, etc) and with my experience on skin tones and colors using manual white balance (selecting Manual in the white balance menu and pointing the lens towards a WhiBal grey carrd), it's not the sensor but the preset white balance settings that are off. The sensor seem pretty capable of getting them right.
I take that this will be discussed to some degree, but in the end it's up to each user to get his workflow and colors correct - or as he or she wants them. But manual white balance is a good starting point.


KinoFlo 4Banks with daylight tubes
Here's a general view of the setup with the two beauty lights (KinoFlo 4Banks) on each side. To the right, pointing up in the ceiling is an ARRI 1,2 kW HMI daylight lamp as the ones known from film sets (see below).


ARRI HMI daylight lamp
Here's the ARRI 1m2 kW HMI daylight lamp to the right, just providing white daylight all over.


As always, feel free to e-mail me at with suggestions, ideas and questions.



Index of Thorsten von Overgaard's user review pages covering Leica M9, Leica M9-P, M-E, Leica M10,
Leica M 240, Leica M-D 262, Leica M Monochrom, M 246  as well as Leica Q and Leica SL:

Leica M9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20   M9-P
Leica M10
V 1 2 3 4 5                             M10-P
Leica M 240
P 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44         What if?
Leica M-D 262 1 2                        
Leica Monochrom 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Leica Q 1 Leica Q2: 1   Leica TL2: 1 2              
Leica SL 1 2 3 4 5 6 Leica CL: 1 2             Books
Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
Leica M cameras:   Small Leica cameras:
Leica M10   Leica Q full-frame mirrorless
Leica M10-P   Leica CL
Leica M Type 240 and M-P Typ240   Leica TL2
Leica M-D Typ 262 and Leica M60   Leica Digilux 2 vintage digital rangefinder
Leica M Monochrom Typ246 digital rangefinder   Leica Digilux 1
Leica M Monochrom MM digital rangefinder   Leica Sofort instant camera
Leica M9 and Leica M-E digital rangefinder   Leica Minilux 35mm film camera
Leica M9-Professional digital rangefinder   Leica CM 35mm film camera
Leica M4 35mm film rangefinder    
Leica M lenses:   Leica SLR cameras:
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica SL 2015 Type 601 mirrorless fullframe
Leica 21mm Leica Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4   Leica R8/R9/DMR film & digital 35mm dSLR cameras
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4   Leica R10 [cancelled]
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R4 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R3 electronic 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leicaflex SL/SL mot 35mm film SLR
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95    
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 and f/1.2   Leica SL and TL lenses:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4    
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0    
Leitz 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica R lenses:
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 75mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 80mm Summilux-F f/1.4
Leica 90mm Elmarit f/2.8   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leitz 90mm Thambar f/2.2   Leica 180mm R lenses
    Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8
Leica Cine Lenses:   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica Cine lenses from CW Sonderoptic   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/4.0
History and overview:   Leica S:
Leica History   Leica S1 digital scan camera
Leica Definitions   Leica S2 digital medium format
Leica Lens Compendium   Leica S digital medium format
Leica Camera Compendium    
The Solms factory and Leica Wetzlar Campus   "Magic of Light" Television Channel
    Thorsten von Overgaard YouTube Channel
Photography Knowledge   Thorsten Overgaard books and education:
Calibrating computer screen for photographers   Thorsten Overgaard Masterclasses & Workshops
Which Computer for Photographers?   Lightroom Survival Kit (Classic)
What is Copyright? Advice for Photogarphers   Lightroom Presets
Synchronizing Large Photo Archive with iPhone   Capture One Survival Kit
Quality of Light   "Finding the Magic of Light" eBook (English)
Lightmeters   "Die Magie des Lichts Finden" eBook (German)
Color meters for accurate colors (White Balance)   "The Moment of Impact in Photography" eBook
White Balance & WhiBal   "Freedom of Photographic Expression" eBook
Film in Digital Age   "Composition in Photography" eBook
Dodge and Burn   "A Little Book on Photography" eBook
All You Need is Love   "After the Tsunami" Free eBook
How to shoot Rock'n'Roll   The Overgaard New Inspiration Extension Course I
X-Rite   The Overgaard Photography Extension Course
The Origin of Photography    
Hasselblad/Imacon Flextight 35mm and 6x6 scanner   Leica M9 Masterclass (video course)
Leica OSX folder icons   Leica M10 Masterclass (video course)
    Leica M240 Masterclass (video course)
    Leica Q Masterclass (video course)
Bespoke Camera Bags by Thorsten Overgaard:   Leica TL2 Quick Start (video course)
"The Von" travel camera bag   Street Photography Masterclass (video course)
"Messenger" walkabout bag    
"24hr Bag" travel bag   Thorsten von Overgaard oin Amazon:
"The Von Backup" camera backpack   "Finding the Magic of Light"
Leica Photographers:    
Jan Grarup   Riccis Valladares
Henri Cartier-Bresson   Christopher Tribble
Birgit Krippner   Martin Munkácsi
John Botte   Jose Galhoz
Douglas Herr   Milan Swolf
Vivian Maier  
Morten Albek    
Byron Prukston   Richard Avedon
The Story Behind That Picture:   Thorsten Overgaard on Instagram
More than 200 articles by Thorsten Overgaard   Join the Thorsten Overgaard Mailing List
Thorsten Overgaard Workshop Schedule   Thorsten Overgaard on Twitter
    Thorsten Overgaard on Facebook
Leica Forums and Blogs:    
Leica M10 / M240 / M246 User Forum on Facebook   Heinz Richter's Leica Barnack Berek Blog
Jono Slack   Leica Camera AG
Steve Huff Photos (reviews)   Leica Fotopark
Erwin Puts (reviews)   The Leica Pool on Flickr (blog)   Eric Kim (blog)
Luminous Landscape (reviews)   Adam Marelli (blog)
Sean Reid Review (reviews)   The Leica User Forum
Ken Rockwell (reviews)   Shoot Tokyo (blog)
John Thawley (blog)   I-Shot-It photo competition
The Von Overgaard Gallery Store:    
Hardware for Photography   Von Overgaard Ventilated lens shades:
Bespoke Camera Bags and Luxury Travel Bags   Ventilated Shade for Current 35mm Summilux FLE
Software for Photography   Ventilated Shade E46 for old Leica 35mm/1.4 lens
Signed Prints   Ventilated Shade for Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH
Mega Size Signed Prints   Ventilated Shade E43 for older 50mm Summilux
Mega Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade for 35mm Summicron-M ASPH
Medium Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade for older 35mm/f2 lenses
Small Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade E39 for 50mm Summicron lenses
Commisioning Thorsten Overgaard Worldwide   Ventilated Shade for Leica 28mm Summilux
Thorsten Overgaard Archive Licencing   Ventilated Shade for current 28mm Elmarit-M
Video Masterclasses   Ventilated Shade for older 28mm Elmarti-M
Photography Books by Thorsten Overgaard   Ventilated Shade E49 for 75mm Summicron
Home School Photography Extension Courses   ventilated Shade E55 for 90mm Summicron
Overgaard Workshops & Masterclasses   Ventilated Shade for 28mm Summaron
Artists Nights   Ventilated Shade for 24mm Elmarit
Gallery Store Specials   Ventilated Shade E60 for 50mm Noctilux and 75/1.4









Austrian born photographer Birgit Krippner of New Zealand/New York uses the Leica M9 as her new creative tool. Equipped with a 50mm Summilux-M f/1.4 and a 28mm Elmarit-M f/2.5 ASPH she's creating new pictures for coming art expos. The above made with the 50mm.



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LEItz CAmera = LEICA
Founded 1849 in Wetzlar, Germany.

Also visit:

Overgaard Photography Workshops
Von Overgaard Gallery Store
Von Overgaard Ventilated Shades
Books by Thorsten Overgaard
Leica Definitions
Leica History
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Leica Lens Compendium
Leica Camera Compendium
Leica 21mm Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4

Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25
Leica 90mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz Cine lenses from CW Sonderoptic
7artisans 50mm f/1.1
Leica Digilux 2

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Leica M 246 Monochrom

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Von Overgaard Masterclasses:
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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

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