Leica M9-P, Leica M9

Leica M9-P

Leica M9


LIST PRICE: $6,995 (M9); $7,995 (M9-P)

FEATURES: Reportage photographers regard Leica cameras highly for their quiet operation. Inherited from the M8.2, the microprocessor-controlled, low-noise, metal-blade shutter makes capturing images unobtrusive, an important advantage when trying to take photos without distracting your subjects. The shutter also is recocked manually in order to avoid unwanted noise.

Leica cameras are built to offer no-frills portability thanks to very compact lens designs, and both M9s are compatible with more than 50 years of precision handmade Leica M bayonet glass. Most are primes, however, with very few zooms in the line, and the longest available telephoto maxes out at 135mm.

The M9 and M9-P employ Adobe’s open-source DNG RAW format, ensuring that untouched files will be accessible from Photoshop and other popular image-enhancement software well into the future. There’s your choice of uncompressed 36 MB files or 18 MB compressed files.

Unlike bulky pro DSLRs, the M9s inherit a rangefinder design with a small, all-metal, die-cast magnesium body at 51?2×11?2×31?6 inches. Framing with a rangefinder allows you to precisely compose a scene because you can see the surrounding areas just outside the frame.

Introduced at the tail end of 2009, the Leica M9 and M9-P (announced just this last June) are the smallest full-frame-sensor cameras in the industry. Based on the historic rangefinder design of the Leica M series of cameras, the M9 and M9-P incorporate a huge 24x36mm, 18-megapixel sensor into an elegant body designed for high image quality, luxury shooting and quiet operation.

Available in classic silver chrome or in black paint, the nearly identical M9-P adds even more class to the M9 design, with vulcanite leathering for a better grip and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal cover with antireflective coatings on the LCD display for reviewing images in glare. It also removes the famous Leica red dot from the front of the camera for more discreet shooting. The M9 is available in steel gray or black paint.

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