Leica M9 Thoughts

November 10, 2009

As a M6 owner with a few nice pieces of Leica glass, and as someone who would love to use that glass on a digital body, I’ve been following the digital rangefinder with interest since the Epson RD1. (I actually bought the RD1, but returned it within 7 days after realizing it was not going to really give me the Leica M experience.)

It sounds like from all I’ve read and seen that the M9 has really done a nice job in providing a full frame digital experience in a Leica M camera. While there has been a lot of discussion about the price and what the M series Leica is all about, I feel there is one comment or side to the discussion missing. And this is the longevity of the digital sensor. I do not mean to jump into the discussion of the value of rangefinders and of M Leica specifically – I own one. I get it; I love it. But whereas the M Leica’s traditionally have lasted forever (we all know there are many working M3’s out there worth as much or more than a new camera) this $7000 digital M9 will be obsolete in a year or two. No matter what happened in the technological advancement in 35mm film, you could put it in your M series Leica. When I purchased the M6 at 4 times the cost of a good SLR, I partly justified it as a camera I would have for life. (Just my luck to come of age at the dawn of the digital age. It was also only $2000 and something) Now you just have to decide that you want to spend $7000 for a couple years of use before a completely upgraded sensor is released. I mean, if the idea was that you would be able to keep the beautifully crafted body for life and upgrade the sensor somehow, that would be one thing. But really, it’s a $7000 disposable body. This is true of DSLR’s, but I feel the $1600 to $3000 I spend every two to three years is justified by the professional work I use them for. The money I would spend on a Leica to me would be a longer term investment… except that in reality it is not.

Just my 2 cents.


Review of the M9

Field review