Coming of Age: Leica M9 The digital rangefinder returns to its full-frame roots with a 35mm-sized image sensor optimized for Leica’s extraordinary lenses.
Having pioneered the 35mm still camera nearly a century ago, Leica comes full circle with the first digital rangefinder to incorporate a 35mm-sized image sensor—a design its engineers had deemed impossible because of the steep, light-sapping angle at which the outer rays from its short back-focus lenses would strike the sensor’s surface. But the M9’s 18-megapixel CCD brilliantly proves otherwise with an innovative light-balancing microlens overlay that works with image processing that automatically adjusts to suit the optical characteristics of the lens in use. Because there is no anti-aliasing filter in front of the image sensor, the camera actually equals or betters the resolution of full-frame DSLRs in the 21-to 25-megapixel range.
As you’d expect, the M9’s magnesium and brass body feels both bulletproof and supremely comfortable. Shooting with it is direct, instinctive and discreet—manual focus notwithstanding. But it’s still digital, saving Adobe DNG or JPEG files to an SD card. Above all, the M9 excels at pure image quality, thanks to Leica’s incomparable M-series optics.About $7,000; en.leica-camera.com.