The new Leica M9-P and 21 Super Elmar 3.4 lens
As many of you have known for a while now, Leica is getting ready to announce the Leica M9-P camera which is basically an M9 with Sapphire Glass, no Leica red dot logo or “M9” engraving so the front looks like an MP. The one I have held and seen was chrome and it is flat out amazingly gorgeous. The top is inscribed like an MP with the Leica name. There will be no new features to the camera, just an M9 with cosmetic enhancements and sapphire glass. If I could swap my grey M9 with some cash for an M9-P I would in a heartbeat. It looks like an MP, and in chrome but with Vulcanite. It really is a gorgeous looking and feeling camera. I may see one of these in my future as THIS is what a digital M should look like!
Leica is also announcing the 21 3.4 Super Elmar wide angle lens. This lens is all about size and it is TINY. I have also seen and handled this lens already and it is a beauty. If you want a small 21 for landscape or architecture be sure to put this one on your short list.
As far as I know, that is about all that is coming from Leica today. I heard that the M9-P will also be available in Black Paint, which will also be pretty sweet. The official word comes from Leica later today in Paris!
ITS NOW OFFICIAL! PRESS RELEASE –
THE NEW LEICA M9-P: THE ESSENCE OF DISCRETION
Designed particularly for professional photographers, new ultra-discreet version of the Leica M9 added to Leica rangefinder portfolio
Solms, Germany (June 21, 2011) – Leica Camera AG is proud to present a new version of the world’s smallest, full-frame digital system camera: the Leica M9-P. This new model will sit alongside the Leica M9 in the company’s rangefinder portfolio. Providing an alternative, even more discreet and resilient design that further reinforces the classic nature of the M9, the M9-P specifically meets the needs of professional photographers. The new model is now available in a classic silver chrome or subtle black paint finish.
Featuring the compact size, full-frame, 18 megapixel 24 x 36mm sensor (35mm format), sophisticated image processing and robust construction of the highly successful Leica M9, the M9-P also incorporates features designed for professional users or photographers who prefer a pure, even more unobtrusive styling.
The Leica M9-P includes a scratch-resistant, sapphire crystal covering on the LCD screen. Produced using special diamond cutting tools, this screen is fashioned from one of the world’s hardest and most resilient materials. Extremely resistant to wear and almost unbreakable, the sapphire glass LCD cover offers many years of reliable use. Additionally, the anti-reflective coating on both sides of the cover improves the review of images on the display after capture, particularly in unfavorable lighting conditions.
Finished in vulcanite leatherette, the external covering of the body of the M9-P is particularly resistant to wear. This leathering features a more coarsely-textured finish that ensures a steadier grip when shooting, making the M9-P feel particularly safe and secure in the hand.
Fulfilling the needs of many professional photographers to capture the decisive moment as discretely as possible, the Leica M9-P’s minimalist styling highlights its most essential features. The Leica red dot logo and the M9 lettering on the front have been omitted and replaced with the Leica name in classic script form engraved on the top plate, making the M9-P the quintessential unobtrusive tool.
Since 1954, the Leica M-System has represented an unmistakable, individual kind of photography and a very conscious photographic style and allowed photographers to capture, document and interpret life’s fleeting moments in all fields of photography, from photojournalism, reportage and ‘available light’ to the capture of portraits and aesthetic, fine-art images. With a Leica M, the photographer becomes a ‘part of the action’ when capturing challenging, authentic and creative images. The frame lines frame precisely the shot the photographer envisages, while allowing a clear view of the scene outside the viewfinder frame.
The functions of the Leica M are consistently constructed for extreme durability and a long working life. The highest quality materials, intricate manufacturing processes and meticulous manual assembly at Leica Camera’s facility in Germany guarantee functional reliability for years to come.
The Leica M9-P will be available from Leica dealers in two different finishes, black paint or traditional silver chrome, beginning July 2011.
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I just purchase the M9-P, a little speciel one. It is the camera Jan Grarup won in the Oscar Barnacke competition this year with his serie from Haiti “after match”, get it with the 28mm cron he won as well, and get it all for a very reasonble price let me say it this way I get the 28mm cron for free compare to the store price on this camera, lucky me, this is the camera I was waiting for and was on a waiting list when this offer pop up as the reel deal.
I like the M9-P very much. It is what the M9 should have been to begin with IMHO. If only they would make the shutter as nice and quiet as my film MP, I’d get one for sure. But I just got an email from Leica – they said in a few months, you will be able to upgrade your M9 to an M9-P. Just thought some of you would like to know….. No price mentioned, but I am pretty sure you guys can come up with a reasonable guess.
I received the e-mail too but if you want a M9-P I wouldn’t hold your breadth on the upgrade program actually being executed “within a few months” given the historical indication of how quickly Leica moves along on that kind of stuff . . . don’t know what kind of price we’re talking about but my guess is you’d probably better off selling your M9 and buying the M9-P.
A large part of the M9-P price increase is due to the weak dollar vs. the euro.
The new model is giving Leica some room to bring prices back to where they were when the M9 was announced (in dollars translated back to euros).
Manufacturers are reluctant to increase prices without a new model to give them some PR cover.
I believe the M9-P is actually priced lower in Swiss Francs, due to their strong currency.
You should check out Erwin Puts’ full review of the new SEM 21mm at http://www.imx.nl/photo, wherein he concludes:
“The SEM 21mm offers the best performance of all Leica lenses of this focal length and is a significant improvement over the Elmarit-M 21mm f/2.8 ASPH that it replaces.”
all this mediatic rage for the removing of the brand on the front and the add of an engraving on the top …. what a joke !!!!
they should rather spend their time innovating like fuji did with the X100 …
Too many fools here think that Leica is some huge corporation who makes consumer products. It’s pathetic to see people bitch about a product being too expensive… makes me think it is because they can’t, or don’t want to, afford the camera.
Innovative… I think you need to look at the digital M and realize that turning a film M into a digital M WAS a huge innovation. No other camera company has been able to take one of its film cameras and make it a digital with very minor cosmetic changes.
Well, I don’t think that everyone can easily justify a$ 7-8k camera and for most people who gets an M, they usually makes some financial sacrifices.
Yes they are innovative that’s for sure with the M8 and then M9. However the M9-P is not that innovative specially for $1k…just to have a logo removed and a sapphire glass for an weak LCD screen.
I have the M9 and If i had to buy it now I would still get the M9 and save for a lens purchase.
I understand that not everyone can justify or afford a digital M. I’m not dissing those people. My issue is this. If I don’t like a certain thing, then I don’t bother coming to blogs about those items just to complain. If I do like a item, but cannot afford it, I get what I can afford and move on. There’s plenty in the world that I cannot afford (or don’t want to)… but I don’t go to blogs and forums to complain about it.
It seems this site is full of people who dream of Leica making their consumer priced dream camera. The Leica M is its own category… and it will never be cheap, it’ll never be mainstream, and it’ll never please people obsessed with keeping up with their DSLR buddies.
I agree with John. Like any other company, Leica tends to the paying customers and then potential customers who can afford their goods. If you are not in either category, your vote on what they should or should not make is not as important. That’s just the reality of every business. Right now, there is no shortage of demands for Leica goods and their earnings are better than ever, so you can’t really legitimately say they are screwing up or that they owe you a more affordable product (which there are, BTW, such as the compacts).
People have also made this argument about their binoculars, a much more mature market, but so far there is still demand.
Actually I don’t have a particular problem with what Leica charges for their products. I think they’re ALL over priced, but I am still willing to pay the premium. My issue is with Leica announcing new lenses when they can’t even remotely keep stock of their current ones. You guys can justify it all you like as part of the Leica `mystique`, but it is retarded that there is 8-12 month waiting lists on most of their lenses.
Really, what do I care that they now have a new 21mm….you KNOW you won`t be able to buy one for at least a year, regardless of whether you are willing to overpay for their product or not.
I just don`t understand why being in the Leica camp means having to live with so many compromises.
You mean blogs are for yay sayers only, differing opinions not welcome? Ok, that’s cleared up then.
C´mon man. Others don`t make it because they (Nikon, Canon ) don`t have to. They sell enough of FF DSLR proff models to make ends meet. If Leica didn`t make the move to digital FF, it would die. Talking about RF`s , if Canon put b-mount on their 7, and Nikon better finder on S3 Leica would have something to think about.
Charging $1,000 for a few cosmetic updates and a piece of sapphire crystal glass that had been a feature of the M9’s precursor in 2008 and did inapprehensibly not make it into it’s successor’s spec sheet is flat-out an impertinence. Leica macht sich lächerlich!
Leica makes me laugh…basically they release the same old M9 with the same 2 yr old sensor, dress it up (or down depending on your take), and then charge more for it….and people will flock to it. Even funnier is the announcement of a new 21mm lens. Perfect, another lens that you will not be able to buy even if you can afford it, because it will never actually be in stock.
Leica, if you’re listening here’s a thought…how about providing stock for the 90% of your M lens line up that are currently unavailable before you start announcing new products….just a thought…
I love Leica lenses but I am always completely dumbfounded by how they run their business.
Indeed! Leica M is not worth that kind of money, they are asking. Ridiculously high pricing policy, and lenses are NEVER in stock. Quality control is poor. “Made in Germany” – doesn’t help while shooting. 🙂
If you look at the major on-line camera stores, ALL of the 35 and 50mm Summicrons and Summiluxes are listed as “Temporarily Unavailable” with no projected delivery date.
You can’t even pre-order one.
These are their bread-and-butter lenses. Don’t know if you can get one if you buy an M9.
All of the other M lenses, except the 75mm Summarit and 24mm Elmar are either unavailable or have a 14 day waiting period.
Imagine what the rumors would be if, say, Pentax or Canon were in the same state.
Gee Paris, can`t you ask Leica boys to open couple factories in China to keep up with demand.
p.s. if you think it`s a joke then read about Red Flag 20. It happened then, it can happen now.
@stanis: With greatest respect, I do not understand your comment. Red Star was a vanity project for which there was zero demand.
For almost 100 years, Leica was a real company that built real products for working photographers. Now, they concentrate on jewelry for the very wealthy, and cannot even produce their most common lenses.
I think that’s sad.
What is your point?
Irony dear friend, irony. I totally agree with you about Leica abandoning serious photographers for the ridiculous special edition aimed for the rich and not trying to produce common sense camera for a reasonable price. What lied behind my ironic comment on chineese option, was that they could make more money increasing production of M9, lovering the price to something like 3k, instead of cashing in for 20 or 100 special edition makes. There`s a sea of screw and m-mount inexpensive lenses people would love to put in use on FF RF camera. That`s my point and shoot remark.
ridiculously high premium compared to the M9 … it’s identical in terms of Perf….you can still hide the logo with a tape that would cost a few $. and for $5 you can get many screen protectors !! don’t understand !
Ahhh vanity… Nothing quite like it.
Makes me grumble for a black X100. 🙂
grumble grumble grumble!
I don’t understand the lens release. Doesn’t Leica already have some good 21mm designs? Plus the Zeiss offerings are pretty much as good as a 21 gets, and the Voigtlander is a close 3rd with the Zeiss designs. Doesn’t really seem like much reason to release a lens like this. What do you folks think?
It’s a mystery. The Leica page describing the new lens is here:
It’s all corporate boilerplate about how the new lens is the best thing since sliced bread, with not a single word about differences between the new lens and the old one, or why they thought a new, slower lens was necessary.
Well, it does describe the new lens as “compact”.
I’ll bet it comes with an all-new higher price though.
Oh, and it will be “Temporarily Unavailable” at B&H Photo, forever.
I wonder if the new 21 Super Elmar will have an E39 filter size. Would be great to have a smaller 21 that will allow metering…..
Also wonder if they will release the M9-P with a 0.85x viewfinder….
Guess time will tell. Thanks for the updates!
I see only one reason to buy this camera over the regular M9 and that’s so that you do your vertical rangefinder adjustment without a special tool. I truly don’t understand the excitement over a purely cosmetic “upgrade” in the M9. I for one prefer that the MP look like and MP and the M9 look like an M9.
I couldn’t agree more.
I’ll give you one more reason, in Norway it’s listed in one of the two stores with websites that carry it as fractionally cheaper than the old M9! (In the other store the price is the same)
If I had the money now, I’d buy an M9-P, all I’d lose was a cheesy logo, and I’d gain a sapphire glass and save a tiny bit of money! 😀
Watch Crystal Round Sapphire Watch Crystal 1.5 mm Thick
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Watch Crystal Round Sapphire Watch Crystal 1.5 mm Thick
These 1.5 mm round sapphire watch crystals are nearly unbreakable making them highly prized by watchmakers for work on name brand watches. These crystals are used in almost every popular name brand watch because they are tough and scratch resistant.
I certainly like the look of the M9-P. It will be a couple of yeas, probably, before I can realistically afford a pre-owned M8.2, but it is interesting to see what what will be a possible goal few years later, when I retire, and can gain access to tax-deferred savings.
I´m shure the super elmar 21 is a 3.8 lens, not 3.4.
Okey, I was wrong. After reading Leica site it is 3.4.
The SA 21/3.4 has been on my wish list for years, but it’s hard-to-find in decent condition. If the new Elmar has comparable performance/size then I’m betting it’ll sell.
know you are using 24mm summilux on your eurotrip…
how are you finding checking in both viewfinders for framing and focus….?
know quality is outstanding but is it abit of a phaff trying to focus at 1.4 as well as using both vf’s
Steve – what is the essential difference between the new MP9 and M9?
Please delete my comment. got my answer!
What an innovation!
If I recall correctly, the 21/2.8 has been discontinued. I don’t know why, though.
I just wish the M9-P would have a larger buffer. Fire a few frames in rapid succession and you’re suddenly without a camera. Even my M8 is better in this regard. No wonder photogs like David Alan Harvey (of Magnum!) complain about the M9…
Thats what DSLRs are for. M is for something else.
What a silly remark! Of course nobody wants a “model mode” on an M Leica. But if you’ve ever really worked as a photographer you know that you can always run into situations where you need to fire a number of shots quickly… And adding a larger buffer really shouldn’t require that much R&D.
(Even Stefan Daniel looked a bit embarrassed when asked about the buffer size during a press meeting for the introduction of the M9.)
No need to defend every single one of the M9’s weaknesses! Spoiler alert: There’s more than one. Doesn’t keep the digital Ms from being the camera of choice. But perfect they’re not!
The only time I’ve had a full buffer was when shooting for fun at a kids birthday party. Not once when doing something more serious. Considering the M is manual everything I just don’t buffer size an important concern. IQ, size, usability. Still faster than shooting film without winders.
You cannot seriously mean that a small data buffer is a feature?
By the way, F3.4 is not a so fast lens, isn’t it ?
Is it enough ?
Sorry if you think I’m a noob or something.
I’ve always been used to hearing “fast lens is better”… so…
Little need for fast wide angles. Depth of field…hard to get anything out of focus anyway so 2.8 or 3.4 makes no difference, especially for architecture/landscape, where those lenses are used most.
Generally speaking, the ‘faster’ the lens, the bigger and heavier it is. No, faster is not necessarily better. A fast lens can be said to be better for low light photography and/or when a very shallow depth of field is required. Slower lenses tend to be compact and thus lighter weight. Pentax has a nice little collection of ‘pancake’ lenses that are extremely compact and lightweight – ideal in my opinion for travel photography. However, these pancakes are not fast lenses. Both types of lenses may be optically excellent. Fast lenses are especially useful with reflex cameras, because the faster the lens, the brighter the image one sees through the viewfinder – again, very useful for low light photography. With a range-finder camera, what one sees through the viewfinder is not effected by the speed of the lens – the viewfinder is bright regardless of what lens is used or f-stop selected. So one must make a choice between fast, heavy lenses verses lightweight, compact yet slow(er) lenses. Bare in mind also that faster lenses are more expensive than slower lenses. Leica’s extreemly fast Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 lens is massive, heavy and very, very expensive – roughly the size, weight and price of the Hubble telescope I believe… (I jest!) Its weight: about 700 g / 24.7 oz! For reflex photography, a decently fast standard (50mm) lens would have an aperture of around f1.4. Plenty fast in my opinion for most photographic situations. 😉 🙂
Thanks for your answers !
Wish I was rich…
Why a 21mm3.4 when there is already a 21mm 2.8?
Size, pure and simple. No one would argue about whether a Summilux is larger and heavier than a Summicron and this would exist for the same reason. You don’t always need a fast lens you know.