Leica launched the digital M series 9 on 09.09.09 and on 09.09.19 it turned 9… I mean, 10.
Ok, on a serious tone now…
The Leica M9 was announced on 9th September 2009, so I thought it was worth celebrating the fact that this true classic Leica is officially 10 years old.
Yes, for me the M9 is a true classic Leica and, guess what, it is a classic not only for me but for you as well, because:
- It was the first full-frame rangefinder camera ever produced.
- It was the first camera without an AA filter in the sensor for crystal clear sharpness.
- It has a CCD sensor when nowadays everybody goes CMOS.
- The sensor is tailor-made from Kodak with specific micro-lenses to optimize the performance at the edges of the frame.
I say it again: the sensor is tailor-made from Kodak.
Yes, Leica reached out to vintage Kodak to help develop the sensor. They didn’t go to Sony, Panasonic, Epson or Samsung. They sourced the sensor from Kodak.
So the M9 is a classic camera from a classic brand sporting a tailor-made sensor from another classic brand.
What else do you need?
Well, most of all and putting everything aside, the M9’s image quality kicked-ass right from day 1.
And even now, 10 years forward, it’s still nothing short of amazing.
I’m sure you had read somewhere that photos from the M9 have a distinctive look because it has a CCD sensor.
Likewise, I’m also sure you had read somewhere that the CCD sensor sucks because it has very weak low-light performance.
Whatever… Forget about low-light performance. You are supposed to take photos during day time. At night time you go to sleep.
But irregardless… One thing I’m sure: the photos coming out of the M9 are absolutely stunning even by 2019 quality standards.
I’m lucky enough to have an M-E, which is essentially an M9 without the frame preview lever and the USB port – so, let’s call it a special edition M9 with a more minimalistic approach and special paint.
It’s gorgeous and I absolutely love my Leica M-E.
Now going back to the title of this post: the Leica M9 is 10 years old and I take my hats off to Leica for creating such a magnificent camera 10 years ago, in 2009.
In the mean time Leica launched the M Typ 240, then the M10 which is their current digital M model.
While these are both good cameras that deserve their own place in Leica’s history books, I still think the M9 is the most remarkable of them all for the reasons I stated above.
So if you are to spend some money to embark on a Leica M experience, please do not rule out getting a used M9.
You will find some good deals in the second hand market and, trust me, you will not regret the money spent.
You will be rewarded with excellent image quality and, moreover, you will own a beautifully crafted piece of German engineering worth keeping forever.
A true classic.