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You are hereHome > Best Digital Cameras > Leica M9

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Leica M9


Category: Serious Amateur to Pro

Leica M9

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The Leica M9 is the digital version of the 35mm film Leica M7 (and upgrade to the M8 which uses an APS-C size sensor). The Leica M9 features a 18.5MP full-frame (23.9 x 35.8 mm) CCD image sensor, a thicker UR/IR filter to correct the problems encountered in the M8, and adds in a number of improvements, such as dual processors, exposure bracketing, and a dedicated ISO button. It, however, does away with the top info LCD panel and retains a 2.5-in. (230K dots) LCD monitor.

In look, feel and handling, the Leica M9 is distinctly a Leica M rangefinder camera using all the benefits of the analog Leica M system, minus those controls that are obviously not needed in a digital camera: the film advance lever, the film rewind knob, the ISO wheel.

The strength of a rangefinder system has always been the ability of the photographer to remain discreet and be able to quietly record shot after shot without the subject being aware of it. Street photography at its best.

Instead of trying to cram all current digital camera features into the M9, Leica engineers have wisely concentrated on what makes sense from a photographic viewpoint: compatibility with the Leica M bayonet standard, allowing the use of almost all current Leica M lenses; ISO 80, 160-2500; RAW data capture; flash sync speed of up to 1/180 sec.; and a high-strength magnesium alloy body.

While the Leica M9 will undoubtedly appeal to professional photographers and Leica aficionados, there are today many more amateur digital photographers who:

  • want excellent professional-level image quality;
  • do not want to carry a cumbersome and heavy digital SLR;
  • want a medium compact digital camera with superb handling and intuitive controls; and,
  • want a camera that lets them concentrate on taking the picture.

If you fit the above profile -- and can afford the high cost of using one of these perfections -- try a Leica M9. Who says that you need to be a pro photographer to use a Leica? You might actually fall in love with photography all over again!

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom included.


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  • Specifications
Leica M9
QuickFact™ Sheet
Leica M9
Image Sensor 18.5 million pixels, full-frame 23.9 x 35.8 mm CCD sensor
Lens system Leica M bayonet with additional sensor for 6-bit coding
Leica M lenses from 16 to 135 mm
Storage Media SD cards up to 2GB/SDHC cards up to 32GB
Viewfinder Large, bright-line frame optical viewfinder with automatic parallax compensation
Shutter Speed 32 s to 1/4000 sec (A); 8 s to 1/4000 sec, B (M)
Series exposure Approx. 2 pictures/s, ≤ 8 pictures in series
Ezposure Aperture priority / Manual
Light Metering Center weighted
ISO sensitivity ISO 80 to ISO 2500, adjustable in 1/3 ISO increments
White Balance Automatic, manual, 7 presets, color temperature selection.
LCD Monitor 2.5" LCD (230K Pixels) TFT
Movie n/a
Dimensions (W x H x D) 139 x 80 x 37 mm /
5 1/2 x 3 1/6 x 1 1/2 in.
Weight 585 g / 19.8 oz (with battery)
MSRP US $ / CAD $ / UK £

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Leica M9
QuickFact™ Sheet
Leica M9
Camera type Compact digital view and rangefinder system camera.
Lens attachment Leica M bayonet with additional sensor for 6-bit coding.
Lens system Leica M lenses from 16 to 135 mm.
Image Sensor 5270 x 3516 pixels (18.5 Megapixel) CCD chip, active area approx. 23.9 x 35.8 mm 5212 x 3472 pixels (18 Megapixel) (corresponding to usable format of analog Leica M models).
Resolution Adjustable, DNG™: 5212 x 3472 pixels (18 Megapixel), JPEG: 5212 x 3472 (18 Megapixel), 3840 x 2592 (10 Megapixel), 2592 x 1728 (4,5 Megapixel), 1728 x 1152 (2 Megapixel), 1280 x 846 pixels (1 Megapixel).
Data formats DNG™ (raw data), choice of uncompressed or slightly compressed (by non-linear reduction of color depth), 2 JPEG compression levels.
File size DNG: 18 MB (compressed)/36 MB (uncompressed), JPEG: approx. 2–10 MB.
Color space Adobe® RGB, sRGB.
White balance Automatic, manual, 7 presets, color temperature selection.
Storage medium SD cards up to 2GB/SDHC cards up to 32GB.
Menu languages German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Russian.
Compatibility Windows® XP/Vista®; Mac® OS X (10.5).
Exposure metering Exposure metering through the lens (TTL), center-weighted with working aperture. Center-weighted TTL metering for flash exposure with system-compatible SCA-3000/2 standard flash units.
Measurement principle Measured by light reflected by bright shutter blades on the first shutter curtain.
Metering range (at ISO 160/23°) At room temperature and normal humidity corresponds to EV 0 to 20 or f/1.0 and 1.2 s to f/32 and 1/1000 s. Flashing left triangular LED in viewfinder indicates values below metering range.
Measurement cell for
available light
(continuous light measurement) Silicon photo diode with condensing lens, positioned in the bottom center of the camera base.
ISO Sensitivity range ISO 80/19° to ISO 2500/35°, adjustable in 1/3 ISO increments, with aperture priority A and manual exposure setting, choice of automatic control or manual setting, automatic control with snapshot profile.
Exposure mode Choice of automatic shutter speed control with manual aperture selection – aperture priority A – with corresponding digital display, or manual setting of shutter speed and aperture and adjustment using LED light balance with indication of correct exposure, or risk of overexposure/camera shake (with snapshot profile only).
Exposure compensation 1/3 EV step, -3 to +3 EV.
Flash exposure control
Flash unit connection Via accessory shoe with center and control contacts.
Synchronization Optional synchronization on first or second shutter curtain.
Flash sync speed 1/180 s; longer shutter speeds possible.
Flash exposure metering (with SCA-3501/3502 adapter or SCA-3000 standard flash unit, e.g. Leica SF 24D/Leica SF 58). Control with centerweighted TTL-pre-flash metering.
Flash measurement cell 2 silicon photo diodes with condensing lens in camera base.
Flash exposure compensation ±3 1/3 EV in 1/3 EV steps adjustable on the SCA-3501/3502 adapter. On Leica SF 24D, ±3 EV in 1/3 EV- steps with computer control, or from 0 to –3 EV in 1 EV-steps/on Leica SF 58 adjustable in all modes ±3 EV in 1/3 EV-steps.
Displays in flash mode Flash readiness: flash symbol LED in viewfinder constant. Correct flash exposure: LED constant or flashes rapidly after exposure. Underexposure: LED extinguished after exposure.
Viewfinder principle
Large, bright-line frame viewfinder with automatic parallax compensation.
Adjusted to -0.5 dpt. Correction lenses from -3 to +3 dpt. available.
Image framing
By activating two bright-line frames: For 35 and 135 mm, 28 and 90 mm, or for 50 and 75 mm. Automatic activation
when lens is attached. Any pair of bright-line frames can be activated using the image field selector.
Parallax compensation
The horizontal and vertical difference between the viewfinder and the lens is automatically compensated according to the relevant distance setting, i.e. the viewfinder bright-line automatically aligns with the subject detail recorded by the lens.
Matching of viewfinder and actual picture
The size of the bright-line frame corresponds exactly to the sensor size of approx. 23.9 x 35.8 mm at a setting distance of 1 meter. At infinity setting, depending on the focal length, approx. 7.3 % (28 mm) to 18 % (135 mm) more is recorded by the sensor than indicated by the corresponding bright-line frame and slightly less for distances shorter than 1 m.
(for all lenses) 0.68x.
Large basis rangefinder
Split or superimposed image range finder shown as a bright field in the center of the viewfinder image.
Effective rangefinder base
47.1 mm (actual rangefinder base 69.25 mm x viewfinder enlargement 0.68x).

(lower edge) LED symbol for flash status. Four-digit seven-segment digital display with dots above and below, display brightness adjusted for ambient brightness, for: Warning of exposure compensation, display for automatically generated shutter speeds in aperture priority mode, indication of use of metering memory lock, warning that the metering or setting ranges are over- or underexposed using aperture priority and counting down exposures longer than 2 s.

LED light balance with two triangular and one central circular LED for manual exposure setting. The triangular LEDs give the direction of rotation of the aperture setting ring and shutter speed setting dial to adjust the exposure. Also as warning for over- or underexposure.

On rear panel
2,5” monitor (color TFT LCD) with 230,000 pixels.
Shutter and release
Microprocessor-controlled, exceptionally low-noise metal blade shutter with vertical movement.
Shutter speeds
For aperture priority (A) continuously adjustable from 32 s to 1/4000 s. For manual setting 8 s to 1/4000 s in half steps, B for long exposures of any duration (in conjunction with self timer T function, i. e. 1st release = shutter opens, 2nd release = shutter closes), (1/180 s) fastest shutter speed for flash synchronization.
Shutter cocking
Using low-noise integral motor, optionally after releasing the shutter release button.
Series exposures
Approx. 2 pictures/s, ≤ 8 pictures in series.
Shutter release
Three levels: Exposure metering on – Metering memory lock (in aperture priority mode) – Shutter release. Integrated standard cable release thread.
Self timer
Delay optionally 2 (aperture priority and manual exposure setting) or 12 s (menu setting), indicated by flashing LED on front of camera and corresponding display on the monitor.
Switching the camera on/off Using the main switch on the camera’s top panel, selectable automatic power-off for camera electronics after about 2/5/10 minutes, reactivation by pressing the shutter release button.
Power supply 1 lithium ion battery, nominal voltage 3.7 V, capacity 1900 mAh. Capacity display in monitor, when shutter held open (for sensor cleaning) additional acoustic warning when capacity is low.
Charger Inputs: 100–240 V AC, 50/60Hz, automatic switching, or 12/24 V DC; Output: 4.2V DC, 800 mA.
Camera housing
All-metal die cast magnesium body, KTL dip painted, synthetic leather covering. Top deck and baseplate in brass, black, or steel-grey paint finish.
Image field selector Allows the bright-line pairs to be manually displayed at any time (e. g. for framing comparisons).
Tripod thread Stainless steel, A 1/4 (1/4’’) DIN, in baseplate.
Operating conditions 0 to +40 °C.
Interface 5-pin mini-USB 2.0 High-Speed socket for fast data transfer.
Included Accessories Charger 100–240 V with 2 mains cables (EU, USA, different in some export markets) and 1 car charger
Lithium ion battery
USB cable
Carrying strap
Dimensions (W x H x D)

approx. 139 x 37 x 80 mm /
5 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 3 1/6 in.

Weight 585 g (19.8 oz) (with battery)

Product technical specifications (including MSRP and Included Accessories) are as represented by the manufacturer and subject to manufacturer's change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer. Product color availability and included accessories may also differ by country or area. Please verify the latest specs from the appropriate manufacturer's site.

Before you buy, do your homework and verify a seller's reputation. One source you may want to check with is Resellerratings.com. And remember, if a price seems to good to be true, it probably is.


Though we make every effort to strive for accuracy in reproducing these specs, we do occasionally make mistakes, so verify with the manufacturer's site for the latest specs. Also, in the early stages of a product introduction, you can almost guarantee there will be some errors from the manufacturers themselves as they update their sites. If you see any mistakes, please contact us. We do appreciate your writing in with the corrections and thank you in advance!






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