Flabbergasted! My M9 is back, and wow…

I am a happy man! First off, my M9 arrived back today from Leica! YEAAA!! Second, after taking a few test shots to make sure the focus was good I was SHOCKED! My M9 is now so amazingly spot on it is scary. My M9 NEVER performed this good and neither did the loaner Leica sent me when I did my review for it in September! Damn! I feel like I need to re-review it! The difference is not subtle! I guess these cameras can get out of alignment from rough shipping, being dropped, or just from use over time.

When Leica services your cameras they re-seal and make it look all pretty. It arrives to you like brand new!


My M9 has never been dropped but may have been handled rough by UPS when I originally bought it, not sure. One thing is for sure…this camera is now even better and I can not wait to really get out and shoot these lenses I have here. Zeiss also just sent me a 35 F2 and 85 F2 to test out. They were going to send me the 50 Sonnar but they found an issue with it. Oh well, I am excited to try the 85 F2 especially.

Here are a few quick test shots from my newly calibrated and cleaned up M9! All straight from camera with no PP, just converted in ACR 5.6.

50 summicron – f2

100% crop.

50 Summicron F2

and a 100% crop

one from the 75 cron at F2 – focus on the gazebo – this is a large 2200 pixel wide version and has NO PP or sharpening. Just resized to 2000PX

Click image for the larger version. Also note I had to reduce the quality to get the file size manageable. The image is 2MB.

Again, these were just quick test shots as I ran out to make sure the focus was good. I can not wait to get started on all of these new lens reviews! The 35 summarit, 50 summicron, 75 summicron, 90 elmarit and the Zeiss 35 Biogon F2 and 85 sonnar F2! Lot’s of work (and fun) ahead! Oh yea, my M to m4/3 adapter will be here Wed so for these new Leica M lens reviews I will also be testing them on the E-P2!

Thanks for reading, just wanted to share my excitement! Don’t forget, AMAZON is now taking pre-orders for the M9. They may pull the pre-orders soon. BTW, I just put up a processed pic from my test on my M9 Diary Page.


17 Comments

  1. Stefan, again. No worries. Also, in the slight chance your M9 arrived out of alignment (and the chance is ever so slight) then all you do is send it in as the camera has a warranty.

    Daniel, thx for the comment. I agree!

  2. This is the bad side of posting stuff like this online- it gets blown way out of proportion. As Steve stated several times, in 99% of cases, this will NOT be an issue, so there’s no need to be concerned at all. In all truthfulness, he doesn’t know if his M9 arrived to him out of whack (I can’t see it leaving the factory that way, so it’d have to happen during transit) or if he did in fact use it too much, or if the cat threw it around the house all night and returned it before he knew what had happened.

    There’s nothing to worry about. Think about it- how often have you heard about people getting their M8s (and now M9s) calibrated over the years because the focusing felt wrong? People can talk about war photographers using Leica Ms that seemed to perform fine, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t changing lenses repeatedly all day everyday on the battlefield.

    Nothing at all to be disappointed about. Enjoy the cameras, that’s what they’re meant for.

  3. A leica needing a tune up after even one year of heavy use – or three months – is disappointing. I had my m6s for years and never an issue. likewise my R7. M8.2 is sharp but disastrous miscolouring at times ( yellow skin – truly yellow! – against blue or red background). Almost ready to be a disgruntled upgrader to m9 but this makes me worry about repeating the mistake if it can’ take heavy use ….

  4. Scott, if the 90 is the only lens giving you an issue then its possibly the lens. Is it a new lens or used? Also, does it front or back focus? Close up or at a distance? Mine had issues with a 75 and 90 and it would not focus on distant subjects. When I shot with my 50 at a distance i also noticed a bit of softness so I realized it was most likely the M9. If your M9 is fine with other lenses then its probably the 90.

  5. Question: How did you send the equipment in? That is, I assume it was fully insured? Did you send it USPS or via another carrier?

    I’ve been needing to do the same thing but was afraid it might take weeks. My 90 is the lens that brought the problem to my attention, but perhaps it’s partially a lens issue.

    Thanks and I’ve really been enjoying your no-nonsense blog.

    Scott

  6. Hey Daniel,

    No, Leica will not work on non Leica lenses. EVerything I sent in was under warranty, even the lenses as I bought them all new. The only lens that was a little off was the 90. Also, when I said they return it like new I should have been clearer. They clean it up but do not do any touch ups or body work. I just meant it was all shiny and clean and sealed in a plastic bag. Looked like new.

    Also, any paint touch ups would not be a warranty issue so that would cost. Thx.

    Steve

  7. Steve, any idea if Leica does the same calibrations with non-Leica glass, and how much that would cost outside of warranty (and if you did it out of warranty, do you get a year’s warranty afterwards)? Ideally at some point I’ll work my way up to owning Leica lenses, but It makes me curious.. I wouldn’t consider it until way down the road anyway. My only lens currently on my M8 is the Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 (I was looking at this lens hard prior to buying the M8 and your review sealed the deal, so thanks! Loving the lens)

    Also you mentioned that they give it a whole work-over and send it to you back as if it’s brand new. I wonder if they do paint touch ups in the process? My pointer finger seems to somehow be rubbing the white paint off the “M” on the front of my camera and I’ve only had it a week. Not a big deal by any means (hey, once it’s all gone it’ll be more stealthy, right?), but the way the white is coming off so quickly seems strange to me and wonder if some day it may ever be fixed if I send it in.

  8. Tate, no need to worry. Leica shooters have been getting their cameras CLA’d and adjusted for years. Usually, after a few years of shooting your camera may need an adjustment. I believe my M9 was a little off from the get go though. Also, it was a quick fix. Im happy.

    I have shot this M9 every day for 3 months. I have really been using it and with all of my lens reviews and lens changes it is possible I knocked something out of whack. I probably put a years worth of use on it in 3 months. It needed a tune up.

    BTW, the Canon 7D I have here has been consistently back focusing with the 50 1.8 lens, even at F5.6. Pain in my you know what. Again, Leica took care of it and went above and beyond with amazing service and care.

    Thx!

  9. This is worrying Steve. All along I thought the Leicas are designed to be handled tough, like during the the world war II when they were the cameras used by the journalists covering the war then.

  10. Can’t wait to see those Leica M on the E-p2…imagine, you will have that Noctilux, stabilised that does not block the VF… Getting close to what the X2 should be. If I was leica I would start making sweet fast primes and vario elmars for the 3-third format. not bother making a camera. Guys are building 3000 to 5000 lense quivers to cover 14-400mm (equiv.) out there. Let them change their cam every 2 years but keep those extra sweet glass.

  11. Jonathan, Thanks! I am also excited to try the Leica glass on the E-P2.

    Gus, I noticed my M9 was a bit off when I would try to shoot anything longer than a 50. When I shot with a 75 or 90 cron the camera would front focus up close and back focus at a distance. When I bought a 90 Elmarit it had the same issues. I sent it in under warranty and they checked it out and calibrated the focus.

    They also adjusted my lenses to the camera and wow, it is much better. I see it in my DNG files when I compare my old shots to the new. I am happy to say it focuses perfectly with all lenses and at all distances. Leica was great and speedy.

    I did not need a loaner during the time they had it. I would not worry about focus issues on a new M9. I mean, I have seen it and I do think mine was slightly off new but that may have been from UPS throwing the box on my doorstep. Who knows? Also with me using my M9 so much and changing lenses out like a madman day in and out that I knocked it out of alignment.

    Who knows? Im just happy to have it back in perfect working order. Leicas warranty service was superb. They even cleaned and lubed all of my lenses, which were already brand new! (35 summarit, 50 cron and 90 elmarit)

  12. What exactly happened to your Leica? Your previous m9 shots were great. I have not received my m9 that I ordered on B&H 6 weeks ago! Shall I be worried about focusing issues once I get it? How was their service, did they lend you a Camera during the time your camera was serviced?

  13. Glad you got your baby back all safe and sound πŸ™‚

    And I can’t wait to hear your impression of Leica glass on an E-P2 body! I’m convinced it’s the best glass availabe, and am wondering if the E-P2’s viewfinder makes manual focus more accurate than with a rangefinder (particularly when you have to recompose.)

    I want to own Leica glass in the future and consider the E-P2 a possible ‘stepping stone’ πŸ™‚

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