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LEICA M9 Example Images
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Leica M9

LEICA M9 with LEICA SUMMILUX 50mm f/1.4. enlarge.


October 2009       LEICA M9 Review        More Leica Reviews      Lenses


NEW: LEICA M9 Yosemite and Eastern Sierra Photo Examples 30 October 2009

NEW: LEICA M9 High ISO Examples 29 October 2009


Introduction           top

These are some snaps I've made with a LEICA M9.

I've also provided real, original DNGs. If you want to see them, you'll need to download them and open them in Lightroom, Photoshop Adobe Camera Raw, Aperture, or whatever in order to see them. Your Internet browser can't see them, although Apple Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) and newer opens DNGs in Preview, but watch it: it's just looking at the embedded JPG.

iPhone and iPod Touch viewers: the original files are so big that our 'pods give up and display a mushier-looking lower-resolution version of these files instead. View the large files a larger computer to see them the best.

In case you worry about dust, I don't. My M9 is no longer new; I've made over 2,000 shots in these first few days, and I've changed lenses at least 100 times trying just about every lens Leica has ever made (reviews all coming). I'd be surprised if I hadn't gotten dust on my sensor.

None of these snaps are made with Leica's best lenses. The 28mm f/2.8 ELMARIT-M ASPH is Leica's least expensive lens. The old 50mm f/2 and 90mm f/2.8 TELE-ELMARIT-M (Germany) are each worth only about $400 and are each about 25 years old. The LEICA 50mm f/1.4 SUMMILUX was made back in 1964!

Of course everything is copyright and registered as always.




Overall Image Quality            top


Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, Kalifornien.

Full-resolution JPG (12 MB) from camera-original DNG (18 MB).

Kamera-original JPG (11 MB).

Snapped with a hand-held LEICA M9, a 1998 LEICA 21mm f/2.8 ELMARIT-M ASPH, ISO 160, f/8 at 1/180 second, Kelvin WB.

I shot this in DNG and opened it in PS CS4 ACR. I opened with as-shot WB, which was about 8,000K, and added about 30% saturation in ACR as I opened it. I added about 100% smart-sharpening at 0.2 pixel radius, and saved-as a JPG at quality = 10.

I don't know of any other camera system that can do this for under $30,000. Even if Canon might have more pixels in their cameras, their wide-angle SLR lenses aren't this sharp corner-to-corner. I don't know if the Hasselblad H4D system has ultrawide lenses this good, either. The LEICA has an advantage since its ultrawide lenses can be designed to get closer to the image plane because there is no flipping SLR mirror to clear.

Look also at the detail in the trees, held up against the direct sun shining into the lens.


Fern Springs

Fern Springs, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, Kalifornien.

Full-resolution JPG (9.5 MB) from kamera-original DNG (18 MB).

Kamera-original JPG (7.5 MB).

Shot with a 2009 LEICA M9, 2001 LEICA 35mm f/1.4 SUMMILUX-M ASPH, ISO 160, 1/6 second at f/11. The depth-of-field is limited at the far and near ends.



Bäume im Regen (Trees in Rain), Merced River, Yosemite Valley, Kalifornien, 19 Oktober 2009.

Kamera-original JPG (8.4 MB).

Shot with a hand-held 2009 LEICA M9, 2003 LEICA 90mm f/2.8 ELMARIT-M, ISO 400, 1/125, Kelvin WB.

Not bad, and even better considering this is hand-held with a long lens and at ISO 400!


Snapshots           top

Sea Life

Sea Life Aquarium. camera-original JPG (5MB) or DNG (18MB).

LEICA M9, 39-year-old 50mm f/2 lens, ISO 160 and 1/500, probably around f/8 or f/11, where diffraction sets in.

I think I had the saturation set to medium-high, and WB was set to cloudy.

Look especially closely at the red-blue transitions between the wings and the sky. They are sharp and clean (they are even better in the DNG). The Canon 5D Mark II can't do this: the 5D Mark II's chroma resolution is much less, so red/blue transitions are much softer, even if shot as CR2 raw on the Canon.


The LEICA M9 is so light that I take it running errands, like picking a friend up from the airport while carrying luggage.

Terminal 2

San Diego Airport (SAN) Terminal 2. camera-original JPG (7MB).

LEICA M9, LEICA 28mm f/2.8 ELMARIT-M ASPH, ISO 160 at 1/750 second, Auto WB.

The moiré seen above are artifacts from Photoshop's Smart Sharpen filter, not the camera.



Moving Elevator Ceiling. camera-original JPG (3MB).

LEICA M9, LEICA 28mm f/2.8 ELMARIT-M ASPH, 1/30 second, hand-held, AUTO ISO chose ISO 250 at 1/30 to match the 28mm lens, Auto WB.

This is shot at f/2.8, thus a limited depth-of-field.


Baggage Claim

Baggage Claim. camera-original JPG (5MB) or DNG (18MB).

LEICA M9, LEICA 28mm f/2.8 ELMARIT-M ASPH, ISO 160 at 1/30 second, hand-held, Auto WB. This is probably f/8.



Ceiling. camera-original JPG (5MB) or DNG (18MB).

LEICA M9, LEICA 28mm f/2.8 ELMARIT-M ASPH, ISO 160 at 1/60 second, hand-held, Auto WB.

I got off all these shots just before my friend arrived as I pushed a cart. With the M9, it's a no-brainer.



Crooked Sunset. camera-original JPG (6MB).

LEICA M9, LEICA 90mm f/2.8 TELE-ELMARIT-M (Germany), ISO 160 at 1/125 second, Auto WB.




Camera Basic JPG (6MB), sharpened JPG from DNG (8MB), DNG (18MB).

LEICA M9, LEICA 90mm f/2.8 TELE-ELMARIT-M (Germany) at f/5.6, ISO 160 at 1/180 second, hand-held, Cloudy Auto WB. Leica's current 90mm lenses are even better. The foreground is out of focus.


Camera JPG versus DNG           top

Here's a snap of the pharmacy with the lost broom man:

Lost Broom

The lost pusher, complete image.

LEICA M9, LEICA 28mm f/2.8 ELMARIT-M ASPH, 1/30, hand-held, Auto ISO 250, Auto WB.

Camera Basic JPG (5MB), JPG from dodged DNG (5MB), DNG (18MB).

There was harsh spot lighting (not lens falloff), so I fixed that when I opened the DNG and saved it as a JPG. I could have done the same with the camera's JPG. You're not seeing miraculous dynamic improvement in the JPG from the DNG; you're seeing hard work in adjustment layers. I used A PS CS2 ACR to open the DNG and save the JPG.

Mouse over this to see a crop from the equivalent of a ten-foot (3 meter) print from each of the M9's in-camera Basic 18MP JPG versus when I got when I opened the DNG in PS CS2 ACR.

Mouse-over to compare DNG. This is a 200% pixel-by-pixel enlargement, similar to a 10-foot wide print. For those of you on iPod and iPhone, here is the version from the DNG:

DNG version


ISO 400           top

Angry Sky

Angry Sky. camera-original Basic JPG (3MB).

LEICA M9, LEICA 28mm f/2.8 ELMARIT-M ASPH, ISO 400 at 1/500 second, Auto WB.



Apartments, Campo, California. camera-original Basic JPG (4MB).

LEICA M9, LEICA 28mm f/2.8 ELMARIT-M ASPH, ISO 400 at 1/20 second, hand-held, manual WB shot off a white wall.


ISO 1,600           top

Warm Maple.

Warm Maple, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, 19 Oktober 2009, 6:31 PM.

Shot with a hand-held 2009 LEICA M9 and a 2001 LEICA 35mm f/1.4 SUMMILUX-M ASPH, Auto ISO 1,600, 1/6 of a second probably at f/1.4.

Kamera-original JPG (5.8 MB).



Sammy's Bathroom. camera-original Basic JPG (6MB) or DNG (18MB).

LEICA M9, LEICA 28mm f/2.8 ELMARIT-M ASPH, at f/2.8, ISO 1,600 at 1/15 second, hand-held (teetering on urinal splash guard), Auto WB under tungsten light.

The only thing in focus is the closer faucet; everything else is out of focus, and the camera wasn't held that steadily.

We can see the noise quite well, and the good news is that noise reduction, if there is any, is not visible degrading any of the image as it too often does in the latest Canon DSLRs.


4-Minute Exposures           top

Four Minutes

Rancho Bernardo. camera-original Basic JPG (6MB) or DNG (18MB).

LEICA M9, LEICA 50mm f/1.4 SUMMILUX (built in 1964) at f/4, ISO 160 at four minutes, Auto WB.

Many digital cameras have a cow with long speeds. This is the longest possible exposure with the LEICA M9. It automatically makes a dark frame for another 4 minutes and subtracts it.

The M9 is marvelous for long exposures because it counts-up this Bulb exposure in the viewfinder in seconds, and counts-down the remaining time for the dark frame on the rear LCD.

This old 1964 SUMMILIUX shows a lack of sharpness in a band about 30mm in diameter; this is why the current LEICA SUMMILUX-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH was created.


Smaller Image Sizes           top

I shoot friends and family at the 4.5 MP (2,592 x 1,728) pixel setting. It's plenty to print any size up to at least 20 x 30" (50 x 75cm) for people pictures.


Ryan and his new bike — in his Cars pajamas. Camera original 4.5MP Basic JPG (1.4MB)

The sunlight is lighting up the left; it's not mud. LEICA M9, LEICA SUMMICRON 50mm f/2 (1970), 1/125 at ISO 400, hand-held.


Black-and-White           top

The Vintage setting comes out of the camera as JPGs looking like this:

Brett's BBQ

Brett's BBQ, Encinitas, California. camera-original Basic JPG (4MB).

LEICA M9, LEICA 28mm f/2.8 ELMARIT-M ASPH, ISO 160 at 1/40 second, hand-held.


Example Images from Leica           top


Help me help you         top

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