Some M9 love and a word about focus…

I think I found a new love! The Leica 50 Summicron lens is extremely nice on the M9. Small, light, easy to focus and I am finding F2 fast enough for just about anything. At $1600 cheaper than the 50 Summilux ASPH, the 50 Summicron on the M9 is an alternative some may find pleasing, and IN STOCK! Ha ha…

I will be reviewing the 50 Summicron soon, right after the 75 Summicron.

Just a few snap-shots from my M9 the last 24 hours mainly testing out the lens. The 1st shot was at ISO 2500! Look at the detail!

M9 – 50 Cron at F2 – ISO 2500

M9 – 50 Cron at F2

M9 – 50 Cron at F2

M9 – 50 Summicron at F2 – ISO 640

M9 – 90 Elmarit at 2.8 – ISO 640

A note on M8 and M9 focus calibration…

Since posting yesterday about my M9 getting serviced I have had quite a few e-mails asking me how to get the M9 calibrated. Well, if you have an M9 it should already be calibrated! My M9 needed to be adjusted because for one reason or another it was slightly off. Maybe it was the lenses, the body, or both but this was a warranty issue. My lenses and camera were under warranty. If your M9 does not have a focus issue then there is no need to send it all off to Leica for a calibration because it is fine.

If your M8 or M9 exhibits focus issues like the following:

  • You focus on something precisely but when you look at your computer the focus is not on your subject. Rather, it is behind it or in front of it. This could be a lens issue, especially if you bought a used lens. If that is the case, you can get it adjusted but it would not be a warranty issue. Does this only happen with one lens, like a 90mm? If so, good chance it’s the lens and not your M9.
  • You focus on mid or distant subjects but the focus is clearly behind your focus point. If this happens with all lenses then it may be the body. This is what was happening to me.

Also, remember the M8/M9 is a rangefinder camera. If the camera is dropped a few times, handled really rough, or thrown around and abused then the RF could get a little thrown off. Yes, the Leica M is a solid camera but remember it is not invincible. I noticed issues with my M9 focus ever so slightly when I took delivery. It was not as sharp as my old M8 but my main lenses are a 35 and 50 and overall they performed well. It was when I tried a 75 and 90 on my M9 that I realized something was not right as I had back focus with both lenses. While I never dropped or abused my M9 in any way it I did change lenses like a madman, every day, several times a day.

I sent it in under warranty to have it checked out and it was adjusted and sent back. Now its perfect. BUT do not feel that you have to go send in your M9 and lenses for a calibration if your M9 is focusing correctly. Also, remember that if your lenses are not under warranty then it does cost money for repairs!

Just wanted to post this because I felt some of you were now feeling like  you had to send in the M9 with lenses to get them all calibrated. This is not the case in 99% of situations! Just the rare occasion when something gets thrown out of whack or you have a funky lens. If your M8 or M9 is doing well then relax. Also if you by a used lens and then notice some focus issues then it is most likely your “new” lens.

A really great guy to send your lenses to if they are not under warranty is Don Goldberg at DAG Camera. He calibrates M cameras of all types. He also does lenses and comes highly recommended in the Leica community. He is top notch so if you have an M8 or lenses that need some adjusting, he is the man to go to!


  1. Andrew, really? I have not had any problems with flare yet. Not to say that I won’t but so far I am finding the lens to be pretty special on the M9. I shot the Zeiss planar extensively and the main difference I see is the build quality is not as good on the Zeiss and the color is more “disney” like. It’s strange but they have two different looks. Both are superb but the cron does indeed give that Leica feel. Also, I find it WAYYYYYYYYYY better than the Nikon 50 1.4. Not even in the same ballpark actually. The 50 cron is sharp corner to corner and its out of focus fall off is beautiful. Same thing can not be said on the 50 1.4 on a FF camera.

    Peter, I am so sorry to hear this. I have seen a couple of others who had this broken glass as well. I hope this is not a design defect of the M9. Yours is the third I have heard about to have this problem. Leica will fix it under warranty but not sure how long they will take. Hopefully not too long. Thanks.

  2. ah, I’m so disappointed, I’ve just realised that my M9 has a circular crack across the far left hand side of the filter in front of the sensor, from top to bottom. It has never been dropped or knocked and I can’t for the life of me understand how it happened. I guess it’s going to need to go back and hopefully it’ll be covered by warranty. I was having trouble with the focus of my 35mm Summilux so I guess I send the lens back as well and get the whole lot checked. Not sure why I’m writing this here but needed to vent my frustration so thank you to anyone who bothers to read. I’ll be sending in some photos for Daily Inspiration soon and that might help me feel a bit better.
    …and you know the really, really, really frustrating thing is that I’m going on a 10 day holiday to New Zealand in a couple of weeks and will now have to lug my Nikon D700 and 25 kilos of lenses with me. At least I’ll have a camera but really wanted to just take the M9 and a couple of lenses not a complee backpack of equipment. You really do get spoiled by the M9…it is an outstanding outfit…I just don’t know how I’m going to go without it for a couple of weeks while, or even a couple of months, while it’s being repaired.
    Thanks for the great site Steve, checking out the updates is a daily ritual for me.

  3. My copy flares quite badly. Quality of the image is similar to Canon 50mm f1.4 althought the bokeh is slightly more pleasing. The lack of a focusing tab detracts from the lens as well.

    I am interested in comparing to the Zeiss Planar. I am impressed with my Zeiss 25mm which has very pleasing bokeh as well as being quite sharp wide open.

    That said, the Summicron 50mm is on my Leica 60% of the time.

  4. I keep blowing my horn for the Summarit 35. Since I got it, the Lux 35 only comes out when I have to have f1.4. Small, light, quick and easy to focus, and so sharp! The Summarit 75 is just as good, which is nice since my Lux 75 is off being 6-bit coded.

  5. Precission instrument……5500 euro……or….7000+$…and than back to adjust?

    I should say… precission end control……jawhol her mechaniker!

  6. Don’t forget that if you want/need to buy new, the Zeiss ZM 50/2 is very special and much cheaper … also realise that ALL rangefinders will need calibration at SOME stage even if you don’t drop them etc. – rangefinders are mechanical and will slowly go out of alignment with use – a CLA should fix this.

  7. That first image of the cat is awesome !

    Well, the 50mm Summicron with built-in hood was my first Leica lens too, I’ve sold this lens 3 times already and I have it again, never to let go of again. It just keeps coming back.

  8. Yea, I have been hearing lots of great things about the MATE and M9. A lens I always disregarded as too slow but it appears to be super on the M9. If you know Jono Slack, he uses one and loves it.

    As unreal as it may sound I traded my 50 Noct even for the 35, 50 and 90 all new in box. After I swore I would not get rid of it!!! BUT at the end of the day I realized I needed more than the noct and since I did not have a spare $5k laying around I traded it in for the three new lenses. I am happy with that choice even though the Noct is pretty special.

    The 35 Summarit is the one surprising me. It’s a sleeper. Maybe the best deal in the whole Leica lens stable.

  9. hahah, that’s awesome! Yeah, I think I will be holding on to my lens collection and fully acknoweldge that I am a happy camper in that respect.I have a couple of lust lenses left, but totally not necessary for most of my needs…

    Did you part ways with the Noctilux? I am so excited to see your summarit 35 shots. I have heard that the 35 is a total dandy and the new bokeh king, so to speak….or so the internet tales are being spun.

    Regardless, enjoy the 50 cron, 35 summarit, and 90 elmarit. Near perfect 3 lens set up….

    And by the way, I am being blown away by the MATE Tri-elmar that I picked up locally off Craigslist….it’s a really marvelous lens, and supposedly one of the most complicated lens designs ever…Hope I never drop it…hahah…

  10. Also, the 50 cron was also my first Leica lens EVER! Bought it with an M7 years ago. For some reason I did not care for it then, but am loving it now. Still, I would trade my lens collection for yours ANY DAY OF THE WEEK! Ha ha…

  11. Glad you like it Steve…The 50 ‘cron was my very first Leica lens….I had a tough time with it, as I found the bokeh different, but you seem to get along with it quite well. I imagine that some of my difficulty was the learning curve of owning a Leica and nothing to do with the lens itself. It’s very well built, has that nice telescoping hood, and is fairly compact, in line with Leica’s philosophy (well, other than the recent wide lux’s and the Noct). I believe it is a Mandler design, which makes it Royalty. I think it may be last one in the current lens repertoire…and it’s a legend. Many say that it’s the best 50 alongside it’s faster aspherical cousin….

    Enjoy it, my friend! And I look forward to your review of it….

  12. Steve, I can’t wait for you to review the 50 cron. Ever since I got that lens, I just can’t take it off from my M8 anymore…

  13. Hey Steve,

    Yes, the 50 Summicron is indeed THE perfect lens for size and performance. Still believe that if one could only choose a single lens for an M camera, this is the one.

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