Here’s a short gallery of images showing some of the new features of the Leica M9 full frame digital rangefinder. We hope to have one for testing very soon.
The metering strip on the new M9 uses the same white line as the M8 and M8.2, but it is now accompanied by two grey strips either side. Leica’s spokesman was not able to explain exactly why this is, but I suspect the technicians, correctly, have discovered that a mid grey makes a more reliable metering target than pure white.
Here you can see the difference between the metering strips of the M9 and the M8 (behind). Mixing white and grey strips really should make the system more reliable. UK photographer Brett, who has road-tested the camera, certainly says this is the case – but he is paid by Leica. I don’t, however, doubt his word on this.
The camera is programmed to automatically recognise the 22 lenses in the M range that are chipped with the 6-bit connections. However, for those working with older lenses, and lenses that will be spoiled by having the 6-bit chips added, Leica has included a new menu where these lenses can be selected manually. Leica couldn’t tell me at the time how many are in the list, and I didn’t count them, but you can see even from this picture that the company has gone to quite some lengths to include details of a very wide range of lenses – including differences between upgrades and originals.
Just hold the ‘ISO’ button down and a new ISO menu opens up, which makes flicking between settings much quicker. It’s a neat idea and certainly speeds things up.
Here is the ‘info’ screen of the M9, that is accessed by pressing the ‘info’ button when in shooting mode. You get a readout of battery life, space on your card as well as the usual shutter speed and lens information – in case you’ve forgotten which lens you are using.
We’ll have more details of the Leica M9 in the coming days and weeks, including how you can win a special edition model to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Amateur Photographer magazine.