Leica Is it still a good idea to get M9 these days?

chris0202

Regular
Aug 13, 2017
8
Good day from a film Leica user.

As my current collection of RF lens is growing, the thought of getting an M9/M240 is lingering in my mind from time to time. However, I do realize M240 has banding issue and M9 doesn't do well in dim lighting.

I have looked at thin-filter mod for Sony cameras. But they have their own set of problems and I don't think life would be a lot easier.

Maybe I should just keep improving my skills developing (C-41) and digitizing my film.

I'd like to find out thoughts of fellow M-camera users here. I'd appreciate any feedback.

Thanks!
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I like mine, also have the M Monochrom.

If buying one used- would go for one that has the new sensor in it. Leica also does a CLA on the camera for the sensor replacement, so those cameras are recently serviced.

I have no problem using my M9 at ISO2500, use a fast lens on it and LightRoom 6 for processing. I just use the default settings for noise reduction. Use encompressed DNG for best results, especially at High ISO.

ISO 2500, 50/1.1 Nokton wide-open, 1/125th second.

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Skate and Fun Zone by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr
 

chris0202

Regular
Aug 13, 2017
8
I like mine, also have the M Monochrom.

If buying one used- would go for one that has the new sensor in it. Leica also does a CLA on the camera for the sensor replacement, so those cameras are recently serviced.

I have no problem using my M9 at ISO2500, use a fast lens on it and LightRoom 6 for processing. I just use the default settings for noise reduction. Use encompressed DNG for best results, especially at High ISO.

ISO 2500, 50/1.1 Nokton wide-open, 1/125th second.

View attachment 15214Skate and Fun Zone by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Nice shot, Brian.

Thank you for the input. Maybe I am just spoiled by modern cameras. I have been with Nikon for a while and I mostly use it to digitize film these days...

I do see an refreshed M9 at a good price at the moment. It is burning me from the inside.
 

M. Valdemar

Veteran
Aug 5, 2013
104
New York City
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I'm happy with my M9. I got it as a refurb years ago. Leica just replaced the sensor in July. It is perfectly usable, I like the CCD sensor, and I never had a single problem with it.

Leica replaced the sensor, but even before they did I only noticed a minimal problem.

I've taken it all over the world, most recently to Japan, and I used old and modern lenses on it. Next month I'm going to China and I will take it.

My travel kit is now a Lumix GX85 with a few lightweight lenses, and the M9 with a few older lenses for more deliberative shooting.

I would buy another M9 without hesitation. I agree with Brian. Get one with a replaced sensor, it should be good for years to come.

PS: I have no problem using M9 at 1600 ISO and sometimes above. The camera speed has been a non-issue for me. Of course, I don't consider the M9 the correct tool for fast action shots. But in a pinch, I could make it work. The photo is my daughter shot with M9, Chinatown, NYC.
 
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chris0202

Regular
Aug 13, 2017
8
View attachment 15216

I'm happy with my M9. I got it as a refurb years ago. Leica just replaced the sensor in July. It is perfectly usable, I like the CCD sensor, and I never had a single problem with it.
Thank you, Valdemar.

It looks promising. I am still hauling around an dslr with 2 big lens (24-120 and 35). It is getting painful with more and more strict TSA protocol.

I saw one recently refresh for $2300 (FM post by n8fyn).

PS. I have been thinking of getting mirrorless but haven't determined to do so yet. I have tried Fuji and Sony. With these, sometimes I feel I pay more for less. My friend's 2-yr-old XE2 has at least 3 hot pixels with 2000 shutter count...
 

rflove

Veteran
Jul 13, 2014
43
I don’t have experience with the M9 so I’ll leave that to those who know. However, I don’t understand the “banding issues” of the M240. I purchased mine used a few years ago and frankly I find no issue with banding.. it does appear but only in rare circumstances. I find it extremely useful and it produces fabulous images with any decent lens. Also, the low light capability is actually quite adequate if not compared with cameras made for that purpose.

I do concur with the idea that using the Leica mount lenses adapted to other cameras is not very satisfying.. Unless you use a rangefinder body like the Epson or Leica, they just don’t work out as well. I’ve tried using them on micro four thirds cameras like the Olympus and Panasonic offerings (EM5, EM1, GX7, etc.) and it’s not fun...
 

asiafish

All-Pro
Aug 9, 2013
123
Bakersfield, CA
Andrew
M9and M240 both produce stunning results and both are quite reasonably priced these days.

I use M-D (almost same sensor as M240and had M-E before that and also use CCD (M9)which is very doable with perfect exposure and slow cards.

M240 very clean ISO 3200 with banding only a problem when exposure not spot on. Even 6400 is usable if you nail exposure. I’ve used 6400 even in good light when I wanted motion blur AND deep depth of field with a 50mm lens and there was no banding. Banding is only an issue when trying to make night into day, which I usually don’t do as night looks better as night to me.

M Monochrom (original)limit and beyond with post processing.


Good luck.
 

chris0202

Regular
Aug 13, 2017
8
I like the colors that the M9 produces, these are with the 7Artisans 50/1.1, wide-open.

View attachment 15342Shenandoah Caverns by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

View attachment 15341Shenandoah Caverns by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

I also shot a lot of Kodachrome.

Hi Brian,

Great shots! Thank you for the samples.

I recently dug into raw samples of M9 and M240 (from my friend's body) and realized that M240 does produce very nice colors. I just purchased one from James (of Guam photography). I am having high expectations on it:)
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
Very good to know, as Adobe has discontinued stand-alone Lightroom. I need an alternative... although I know the M9, M8, and M Monochrom DNG files formats and have written my own code to process them...
 

chris0202

Regular
Aug 13, 2017
8
Very good to know, as Adobe has discontinued stand-alone Lightroom. I need an alternative... although I know the M9, M8, and M Monochrom DNG files formats and have written my own code to process them...
They just renamed it classic. It is still available.
 

chris0202

Regular
Aug 13, 2017
8
If they sell the new Lightroom license without requiring the monthly creative cloud plan, they've hidden it fairly well. You had to dig a little to buy standalone Lightroom 6, but that is what I did.

As far as I can tell, the new Lightroom requires a monthly subscription to creative cloud.

Adobe Said It Would Offer Standalone Lightroom 'Indefinitely'
Ah, that's what you mean. I am paying monthly to capture one. This doesn't bother me too much but I understand the annoyance.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I use a number of stand-alone computers, not Internet connected. So LR6 will be my last Adobe product. As Leica uses DNG- not a problem. My Nikon Df would be an issue. although I hacked LR4 to process .NEF files before Adobe updated it for the new file format. If there is a DF-2 down the road, I'll update then. The .NEF files are based on TIFF format, as is DNG.
 

JonVdG

Regular
Apr 29, 2016
8
New York, USA
Jon
Brian if you're still looking for a Lightroom alternative, I strongly recommend Capture One for Leica DNG files, as chris0202 mentioned. It's been fantastic for me with any RAW file type (Nikon, Panasonic, etc.). I much prefer it over anything made by Adobe. DXO OpticsPro is also worth looking at.
 

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