From the Leica M9 to the Leica M240…and Back to the M9
By Ashwin Rao – Follow him on Facebook HERE
Hello my friends. It’s Ashwin, back to talk about my recent GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) journey with Leica. I have been a huge fan of both the Leica M9 and Leica M Monochrom over the course of the life cycles of these cameras. I have always enjoyed the rangefinder way of seeing, from the time I first came upon my very first rangefinder, an M6 TTL. I joined the digital rangefinder transition, as did many others, with the Leica M8, and while that camera had many benefits (incredibly clear and crisp sensor), it was not quite ready for prime time due to its IR sensitivity issues and operational foibles, all of which have been well documented. That being said, many Leica M8’s remain in service today, over 8 years after it first came into production in September of 2006. The Leica M9 was released to much fanfare on September 9th 2009, heralded as the first full frame digital rangefinder, featuring a high quality CCD sensor with the same pixel pitch as the M8, and some cosmetic and operational refinements. The infrared sensitivity issue ,which plagued the M8, was mitigated for the M9, and for many, it is considered a modern legend of digital photography. I received my first Leica M9 in December of 2009, and soon thereafter wrote my first article for Steve, reviewing the M9 and a “travel camera extraordinaire.” 5 years later, I believe those same words hold true. The Leica M9 remains a remarkable camera, capable of capturing the decisive moment and motivating the eager photographer.
Leica M9 and 50 mm f/1.4 Summilux-ASPH
M240 and 50 mm f/1.4 Summilux-ASPH
Leica M9 and 50 mm f/1.4 Summilux-ASPH
With time comes progress (right?) and in September of 2012, Leica announced the Leica M240, or in short, the Leica “M”, the first full frame sensor to feature a new CMOS sensor, which would permit higher ISO shooting, and importantly, live view. In theory, the Leica M240 boasted many performance and design refinements learned from the limitations of the M9. It also allowed rangefinders to compete with other modern cameras in providing an option to focus lenses with live view and it can shoot video. For many rangefinder enthusiasts, particularly those with aging eyes and a large collection of R lenses, the M240 represented an option by which to focus more accurately and use their R lenses, which have not been supported by a modern digital Leica R.
Like many, I was very curious when the M240 was launched. I kept a close eye on those who were able to use the camera early in its production cycle, such as Steve, Jono Slack, Gary Tyson, and others. As the camera became more widely available, I regularly browsed online photo forums and facebook enthusiast pages to find compelling images and reasons to justify upgrade….this process was a year long journey, and one accompanied by great struggle. I truly loved my M9, the “CCD look” that I perceived to be true, and had truly bonded with the camera over years of use, but new cameras are always compelling and entice the prospective buyer with the promise of new features and improved image quality. I also struggled with the concept of investing another $7000 in a camera, when I had just done this a few years back.
Leica M9 and 35 mm f/1.4 Summilux ASPH pre-FLE
Finally, in the spring of this year (2014), I purchased the M240. It was a harrowing, yet exciting moment. In the year that I had debated whether or not to purchase the M240, I remarked that the color palette, dynamic range and look of files from the M240 was vastly different M9 files. Initially, the M240 seemed to be plagued by inconsistent white balance, but over the year, through firmware upgrades, Leica seemed to improve upon this. Yet, the colors coming from the camera, and skin tones in particular, seemed so different, warmer and more red/orange (a common problem with CMOS digital sensors, by the way), than what I had accommodated to with my M9, which provided a seemingly cooler skin tone profile. As I reviewed images, I came to compare the M9 and M240 images to different image stock. Ultimately, I was compelled to try the M240 to see if I could adjust to this different way of seeing.
M9 and 50 mm Noctilux f/0.95
M240 and 50 mm APO Summicron-ASPH
In the process of buying my M240, I quickly sold my M9 to be able to focus on one color rangefinder option. I set into getting to learn my camera, and was able to have the M240 around for a very important part of my life, that is, my wedding and the months around this event. I managed to shoot the camera regularly.
What were my conclusions, you might ask? What was my conclusion from this costly experiment? Well, the title of the article summarizes the basic experience, but let me elaborate. I simply couldn’t get used to the M240 and I could not find a bond with the camera. First, and most challenging for me, was the color reproduction of the camera and its inconsistent white balance reproductions under artificial light, particularly in rendering skin complexion. I often found skin tones to render excessively yellow or orange, and I simply could not find ways in Adobe Lightroom, to get skin tones to look as I enjoyed. I could get close, but adjusting skin tones would often affect the color reproduction of the rest of the image. Apparently, I had accommodated to the look of the M9, and I could not get close enough with the M240. Second, and disappointing to me, was an issue with banding at higher ISO’s. Whenever I took a shot that was underexposed, lifting the shadows resulted in noticeable banding at ISO’s of 3200 and higher (and occasionally at ISO 1600). I was able to remedy the banding issue using software fixes (Nik software’s has a de-banding tool that’s very useful). In practice, shooting in low light was nearly as limited for the M240 as it was for the M9, which has a practical ISO limit of around 640, after which banding behaviors are the norm with image adjustment.
M240 and Summicron 28 ASPH
Leica M9 and Noctilux 50 mm f/0.95
For the M240, I also struggled mightily with the “start up time” of the camera. When powering the camera on, it takes about 2-3 seconds before the photographer can actually take a shot. Initially, I thought this was a camera defect, but trying a few friends’ M240’s, I found the behavior to be universal. I tried to remedy this by leaving the camera on all of the time, given that the M240 sports a much-improved battery than the M9. However, after prolonged periods when the camera went back to sleep, I noticed the same lag. There were several instances where I missed an important shot , and this became an increasing turn off as I used the camera more.
M240 and Noctilux f/0.95 – Lauren
As I used the M240 more, I became increasingly aware of the weight of the camera. At first, I felt that the camera felt more confident, more solid, less “airy” in hand, but after some time, I found the added bulk to be unwanted. My shooting arm would get sore. Not a huge deal, but enough of a difference to be annoying. After all, there was an outcry when the M8 and M9 were built with much thicker bodies than previous film M bodies, and here was a camera that provided even more bulk and heft to a shooter (myself) who valued size and discretion in his camera.
M240 and Noctilux f/0.95 – Andi
M9 and Noctilux f/0.95
Finally, I became increasingly annoyed over time with the menu layout. I wasn’t entirely sure when to press the “Menu”, “set”, and Info buttons. It was not nearly as intuitive an experience as to how best to adjust settings on the fly as it was with the M9. Even the ISO adjustment methodology seemed more cumbersome to me, who had gotten used to the simplicity of the M9’s menu and button implementation. The M240 had new buttons in unexpected places, and on occasion, which thought I was capturing images, I had accidentally triggered video shooting.
M240 and 90 mm f/4 Macro Elmar
M9 and Rigid Summicron 50 mm f/2 (v2)
As you read this, you may feel that I am unfairly bashing the M240, and that with more time, I would have adjusted to the cameras many quirks. While this may be true, I kept coming back to my struggles with the M240’s image rendering. As I looked on my screen at old M9 shots, and compared them to the M240 images that I had captured, I took note of several things. I find the M9 to have rendered a more “crisp” pixel, while the M240 renders a slightly softer pixel. Further, the M240 renders with much more dynamic range, but for some reason, images taken with this camera seemed to exhibit less 3D pop that I saw with my M9.
In summary, I began to find reasons to return to my Leica M9, and in August, after 4 months, I sold my Leica M240 and returned to the M9. I can say that I am happy with this choice and much more settled with keeping the M9 and its awesome CCD sensor and way of rendering.
Well, I spent a lot of time bashing the M240, no? Let me bash the M9 for some balance. The M9 is a camera full of quirks and deficiencies. First off, it has a completely inadequate and dated 200,000+ pixel LCD. It was an out of date LCD the moment it was released, and 8 years later, it’s ridiculously poor…One cannot count on confirming clear focus with the M9’s LCD. Further, there’s a slight delay between when the image snaps into focus on the LCD, making images seem blurry for a moment.
There are times when the M9 freezes operationally and won’t take a shot. And I don’t just mean when the buffer is full. At times, I have missed important shots because the M9 simply refused to take the shot. Further, battery life is quite poor (300-400 shots), compared to the far improved M240 sensor. The M9 has an ISO limitation that stems from its CCD sensor. It’s only capable of being shot reliably through ISO 640 (or 800 if you are willing to live with lost dynamic range, muddier images). Compared to today’s sensors (think Sony, Fuji, Olympus, and Panasonic), this ISO limitation seems arcane. Compared to the M240, which offers clean ISO’s through 1600 and inconsistent but occasionally decent performance at ISO 3200, it seems old as well. Yet, at base ISO through ISO 400, the M9 offers something unique. It offers a lovely color palette. Images, particularly of people jump off the screen. Skin tones and rendering can take on a lifelike look, while the M240 occasionally presents skin tones in a waxy (CMOS) manner. You’d never see this on your cell phone or laptop monitor, but on a calibrated larger home monitor or large print, there’s a difference there that’s continued to be noticeable to me.
Ultimately, I came to accept the limitations of the Leica M9 to gain its benefits. The M9 turns on and is ready to shoot instantaneously. It’s silent shooting mode is cleverly implemented and useful when employed. It’s a lighter and airier camera and is less fatiguing to hold in the hand for prolonged shoots. It’s menus offer operational simplicity, which seems to echo the rangefinder way of seeing. It’s CCD rendering (yes, I believe that the CCD “look” is real…sorry to all of the naysayers) is awesome and increasingly unique in a world where CMOS sensors have taken over.
I believe that the Leica M9 continues to represent the pinnacle of Leica’s imaging achievement. Like many countless others who’d hope for a camera that offers the best of all worlds, I strongly suspect that such a camera will never materialize. I doubt that there will ever be another CCD-sensor Leica. And thus, I am “stuck” with the M9, and of course, my beloved Leica M Monchrom. For those times when I desire revelatory ISO performance, I have moved to the Sony A7s, which I have used extensively (nearly exclusively) with Leica M lenses, and I find that its limitations (primarily the 12 megapixel sensor and tunnel view SLR way of seeing) don’t bother me all that much. The Sony is not built anywhere as confidently as the Leica (in terms of feel), but it’s a great camera worth checking out for a modern CMOS option. IT’s colors are not Leica colors, but I have found that I can get skin tones that I like with this camera.
Leica M9 and 35 Summuilux FLE
Leica M9 and 50 mm f/1.4 Summilux ASPH
Thus, for me, the Leica M240 is now part of my photographic past. The Leica M9 has returned to my kit. It represents my photographic present. I certainly hope and expect that Leica will continue to re-invent itself with new innovative products and improved rangefinders. The Leica M240 was not the right camera for me, but I hope that the next iteration will be a better fit. At that time, the M9 will remain with me. It’s a lifetime camera, unless Leica finds the guts to go back to CCD or a sensor the renders similarly. It offers a unique rendering that blends so well with M lenses. It’s a great option for photography, even today.
M240 and 50 mm APO-Summicron ASPH
I imagine that many of you will take exception to my thoughts and comments. I welcome your thoughts, your debate, and your criticisms to this argument. It simply represents my opinion and current thinking on the matter.
Here’s a summary of what I consider the strengths and weaknesses of the 2 cameras discussed:
Pros of the Leica M9
• CCD sensor – per pixel microontrast and dynamic range at low ISO
• Menu and operational simplicigty
• Instant On
• Silent shooting mode
Cons of the Leica M9
• ISO limitation
• Rear LCD is terrible
• Poor battery life
• Indoor and outdoor white balance inconsistency
• Reduced dynamic range compared to modern sensors
• Occasionally the shutter doesn’t fire
• IR sensitivity is still there, though less so?
Pros of the M240
• ISO improvements (though banding limits realistic ISO to < 3200, and in some cases, 1600
• Moderate Dynamic range improvement
• Solid battery life
• Build Quality
• EVF capacity, for those who want it
• Much improved shutter sound and less shutter shake
• Fantastic Black and White Conversions
Cons of the M240
• Meno complexity and dials
• Adds complication to a simple RF concept (i.e. video, EVF, etc)
• Unnatural Color reproduction of skin tones
• Indoor white balance inconsistency
• Shooting lag, when camera is first activated
• More IR sensitivity?
Feasible areas of improvement for the next Leica M:
• Improved color stability for white balance
• Improved color rendering of skin tones
• Reduced banding artifacts for high ISO, particularly when adjusting images
• Baseplate access to the battery and SD card
• Make the camera thinner, rather than thicker
In fairness to bias, my time with the M240 was self-limited to 4 months. My time with the M9 has extended to nearly 5 years. There may be much in that difference in experience that may explain some of my experiences with these cameras. All the best to you, and most importantly, keep your hand on the shutter and keep making images, regardless of camera.
M240 and Rigid Summicron 50 mm f/2 (v2)
M240 and 35 mm Summilux ASPH FLE
I must echo many other comments your observations and reflections are truly well articulated and reflective of many of my own thoughts about a year ago I was lent an M240 for a weekend to try out and quickly both in feel and as I look back over those images I feel as you do it’s ain’t an M9 … Mine arrived in early 2010 and will stay until it shoots no more … It’s my digital M3 I have a 1956 model and when I want more pixels I shoot my Mamiya 6 and scan the 6×6 big
So keep shooting & keep posting & sharing
Steve thanks again for hosting a great site …and to you both a Vulcan bye for now .. Live long & prosper
A very late reading of your fascinating article, Ashwin. I’d rather given up on the rangefinder game, but you make me feel stretching for an M-E might really be the way in. Thanks. I like what you say about the CCD sensor. Hopefully there won’t be corrosion problems………….
to me, M240 is definitely a better camera than M9 in term of operation, iso, performance.
except, i still prefer the ccd file and color from my trusty M9-P, which i am still using and happy with it. The high iso things can be resolve with good glasses, i meant summilux lens, ( i do have 35 FLE and 50 LuX)
I think M240 is 1000% better camera so everyone should upgrade! And sell your camera online!
So I can buy M9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am still using my M8 1/8000!
Ashwin, let me add my thanks, belatedly.
I’ve had an M9 since 12/2010, now converted to M9-P.
I’ve used film Nikons since 1978, don’t use film much anymore, though.
The M9 is possibly the closest thing to a digital camera that acts like a film camera as will ever be built. In the right conditions, the color and overall quality of the images can be almost mind-boggling. But it’s better than film. When an M9 raw image is RIGHT from the start, it is as perfect as digital imaging perfect can be. It certainly doesn’t happen every time, but when it happens, it’s sweet. But even when it’s not absolutely perfect out of the camera, after a little WB and exposure tweaking, it can still be pretty phenomenal. Sharpening introduces much more artifact, and that’s why the rangefinder demands so much from the shooter.
Try as I might, I can’t get my other cameras to replicate that look, pretty much gave up trying.
It’s all in the eye of the beholder, I guess.
I had a troubled relationship with the M9. On the one hand I loved it because it was a digital rangefinder and expressed the field of view my lenses were designed for fully. On the other hand, it always felt sluggish and strained, didn’t provide me the shooting experience I wanted. On the one hand with the right lenses on it and raw files to work with, it produces results that are a marvel. On the other hand, to my eyes it NEVER produces the right color balance out of camera … The photos always look muddy and off-color to me. Everything I ever took with it needed processing work to get what I wanted. I nearly sold it a half dozen times, and had mostly moved to using a Sony A7 with Leica R lenses instead; the results were superior to my eye.
But the Sony always feels clunky to me, and R lenses are not petite.
Then my M9 sensor came up with the corrosion problem. Leica USA offered to replace it free of charge, and also offered me an upgrade with exchange of the M9 to an M-P typ 240. It was still a lot of money that I wasn’t expecting to spend, but after some consideration I decided to go for it.
The M-P arrived a month or so ago. I *love* this camera. It is responsive, more ergonomic than the M9, and the viewfinder is subtly better. The addition of Live View and the option to use an EVF nets capability and versatility that I didn’t expect: I can fit my favorite long or ultra-ultra-wide R lens and get excellent results with them without the camera ever feeling clunky like the A7 does. In operation, it is exactly what I’d hoped the M9 would be when I bought it, and then some.
But more to the point of this thread, now having made a couple thousand exposures with the M-P using the same lenses as the M9 and of the same subjects, to my eye the M-P produces FAR better color out of camera, far better B&W out of camera, and more neutral, adjustable raw files… files with more detail and less moire, with more dynamic range and cleaner roll-off of gray tones in the Zone II to IV range.
In short, to my eye, the M-P is in every possible way simply a better camera than the M9 was purely on the basis of what comes out of it, without even considering the operational improvements. It’s so good that my A7 is up for sale, I’m trimming down the R lens collection, selling a bunch of other gear, and I’ve bought a new Elmar-M 24mm to round out my M lens kit. It impresses me that much.
That’s where it sits for me. I’m so glad I spent the money and went for the upgrade. To move back to an M9 … It will not happen, not for me.
Whatever works for you is the right thing. Follow your own heart.
I’m right there with you. I’ve had the M9 since it was released. When the M240 came out I was impressed with the technical improvements (LCD, high ISO, etc) and was one of the first in my area to receive one. I’ve been shooting with it for the last year and it has been a struggle. Strange colors. Wonky skin tones. Bulky body. But overall I simply find the files to be “lacking” compared to my M9. Not that they are “bad”… just different. And IMHO not as magic. It’s looking like my M240 will be on eBay in coming weeks.
BTW – I did find that using an X-Rite Color Checker to create an M240 camera profile fixed the skin tone issue.
I’ve read that the M240 has more IR contamination than the M9. Have any M240 owners tried IR cut filters to correct the skin tone issues? The Nikon D2H had the same issue, years ago. A number of D2H owners went back to using IR cut filters to correct skin tones.
Just curious, if doing contact cleaning with a solution that evaporates immediately how can this possibly cause corrosion? Does anyone know how this is possible?
just curious, until now no one know the proper cleaning way for CCD sensor
sorry to say but since yesterday’s statement from Leica, all Ms with FF-CCD sensor could be in serious trouble.
Here the full statement written in the LUF:
Based on this thread, we feel the need to clarifying a couple of things about the sensor marks issue you have been experiencing. The issue is linked with corrosion effects on the cover glass of the CCD sensor in Leica M9, M9-P, M Monochrom and M-E cameras. They manifest themselves as marks on images captured at smaller apertures (f/5.6-22). The new Leica M (Type 240) with the CMOS sensor is not affected by this problem. We are truly sorry for the inconvenience encountered and we have set up the following scheme for servicing the sensors of the products affected. Please be aware that a contact-free cleaning of the sensor is essential in preventing the issue.
• Customer care will perform sensor cleaning free of charge by prior arrangement.
• In the case of damage as a result of corrosion, the sensor will be replaced free of charge up to three years following the date of purchase. Leica Camera AG will cover the full costs of replacement, amounting to 1,800 euros plus applicable VAT. This does not apply to sensors damaged by scratching or breakage of the sensor glass.
• In the fourth and fifth year following the date of purchase, sensors damaged by the corrosion effects described will be replaced for a fixed charge of 600 euros plus applicable VAT. Leica Camera AG will cover the remaining costs of 1,200 euros.
• In the sixth and seventh year following the date of purchase, sensor replacement will be offered at a fixed charge of 1,200 euros plus applicable VAT. Leica Camera AG will cover the remaining costs of 600 euros.
• For the eighth and more years following the date of purchase, sensor replacement will be offered at a fixed charge of 1,500 euros plus applicable VAT. Leica Camera AG will cover the remaining costs of 300 euros.
• The prices stated apply for direct shipment of the camera to Leica Customer Care in Wetzlar or the Customer Care department of a national distributor. Additional costs may arise when the camera is sent to Leica through a dealer.
• Mandatory warranty conditions will apply after customers have taken advantage of the extended goodwill arrangement.
• As longer waiting times may otherwise occur, the camera should only be sent to Customer Care after prior arrangement.
We will continue watching this thread so you are welcome to react here.
^JJ with Leica-camera
moderator: it’s up to you to release this to the public here. Thanks Steve & Brandon!
Don’t worry, it works flawlessly after free sensor replacement from Leica.
No degradation is seen so far.
I do think some, many, of your images are amazing. The image of the brick buildings reflected in the water of the “street” just knocks me out. The yellow cab seems too rich in color to my eye, yet I like it, the the image with the Asian lions knocks me out, but the colors seem to me a little too rich to match my sense of whats real. The Huskies and Arizona images seems a little over saturated. Most of the images from the Pacific Northwest seem pretty real to me… And you know something? I love all of your images!
It seems like we all come to other people’s images with our own internal filters.
In my current profession Leica cameras are objects of lust, as are the lenses. Owning seems beyond my wildest dreams. But I miss the connection with photography one gets with film cameras like a Nikon F3 or Hassie 500C/M and it seems like the Leica M9 and M(240) is as close as it gets to that sort of experience.
So I read posts like yours and dream and dream.
Thanks so much for your images and expressing your feelings about your camera choice.
I have an M9-P and an M9. The M9-P is currently running firmware 1.196, and it can sometimes have an issue where it doesn’t re-cock the shutter for up to ten seconds after taking a photo. It only does it though when the camera is set to discreet and soft mode. I mostly use my camera on continuous, which overrides this anyway. On single I use discreet only. It’s rarely a problem and is definitely related to the firmware. My M9 I have had for years, and has never had a problem at all, but it is running an older firmware.
A new firmware update for the M9/M9-P/M-E has just been released actually, 1.202. Has anyone tried it? Leica told me a few months ago that it was coming, and it would address this re-cocking issue.
The M Monochrom does this as well- sometimes delays charging the shutter until it’s finished flushing the buffer, I’m guessing it came in with the “Improved SD reliability”. I’ve never had a problem with 1.176 on the M9, and will keep it at that version. I tend to use slower SD cards in my cameras, “4x” cards, which seem to produce less noise for high ISO shots.
I was hoping to hear a perspective on how reliable M9 Leicas tend to be? I just pulled a trigger after many years of not being able to afford one. Not sure if I will keep it – have two weeks to decide and test. If I do feel it’s taking my photography in a new direction I will definitely keep it. Paying four K for a several year old digital camera is a risky business – but just how high is the risk it will quit on me in a year?
Bought from keh in ex+ condition.
Thank you in advance for your thoughts.
I bought my M9 almost 4 years ago, has never given a problem. Never had to drop the battery from it to reset, never had it lock up or hang-up. The RF is still in good calibration, spot-on as it was when delivered.
Similarly, I’ve been using my M9 since January 2012, and have recorded about 13,000 exposures with it to date. Mine is a Leica USA demo unit purchased with a one-year warranty. It has worked flawlessly, not a single issue, with no indication of any change in that regard.
It’s based on both really. The majority of the time I am working with the raw, however I have the camera setup to produce a B&W JPEG and a raw file. On import, I have Lightroom display the B&W jpeg alongside the raw and from there I’ll decide which way I go with the photo. Most of the time I’ll edit the raw file, but the M9 does take a nice B&W jpeg. I can’t really comment on the jpegs colours, as I haven’t used them enough to really come to a conclusive opinion on them. From what I have seen though, the micro contrast and crispness preference of mine is there also.
My opinion is based on using the camera below 800 ISO mind you, which is where I spend most of my time.
I completely agree with you Ashwin. In doing so, I am not saying that the M240 is not a great camera, far from it. I owned an M9 and purchased the M240 when it came out. I photographed with the camera for eight months and loved many things about it, but to me, there was something missing in the image that I had come to love. Some of that crispness was gone and there was a smoothness to the rendering that just wasn’t pleasing me. To my eye, the M9 ccd is definitely producing images with more micro contrast at base ISO, and colour accuracy is much closer to what I’m seeing when capturing a photo, particularly in skin tones. I love that M9 ‘pop’, which had been lessened with the smoother rendering of the M240.
All of this of course is personal preference and not a case of one camera is better than the other. The M240 has many advantages over the M9. I’m just interested in base ISO image quality, and for me, the M9 wins there. I ended up selling the M240 and purchasing the newest M9-P I could find.
My wishes for a future M would be to develop the ME alongside the M. For it to benefit from the new shutter and better battery. To have a higher resolution screen, but it doesn’t need to be bigger than the M9s, if it means it will have an impact on the dimensions of the camera. A CCD sensor, potentially with improved ISO performance, but only if it doesn’t have an impact on base ISO. Frameline selector and a bigger buffer. If it could somehow have two SD card slots without compromising the size, then that would be great. I know that is asking a lot though.
If you are reading this thread Leica, I’ll have one in chrome thank you very much.
I am just curious. Is your judgement based on jpegs or raw?
In reply to Richard Paul: I can absolutely believe that most photographers you know shoot JPEGs. Especially if you’re shooting professional sports. I think the biggest priority for a sports photographer is to get the photos to the editor’s desk (or computer) ASAP. I cannot for the life of me imagine someone doing RAW conversions after shooting a baseball or football game. Expediency is the thing.
BTW some folks believe that the M9 produces very nice b&w JPEGs. From what I’ve seen, they look great.
Yes, shooting sports professionally is mostly done in jpeg for the reason you mention.
And yes, b&w shot with the M9 looked good in jpeg. That is, until I saw the b&w jpegs with the M240.
I mentioned the other day to return to M8…
Well, that’s simply incredible:
Who imagined Leica launching now a new firmware for M8?
Heh, Kodak is hard to beat, isnt it? 🙂
And colors of M9 just pale compared to DMR ones. Or SLR/n (well everything pales in comparsion to SLR/n apart of 645 Pro back).
Otherwise, M240 is okay, what it needs is certain way of PPin pictures and custom color profile. Then it can be as good as M9 or M-E. Apart that banding issue.. :/ IMHO banding is pretty big fail, only excuse I can think of is that Canon has same issue for ages and Canon users simply got used to it. 😀
What Leica should do (yea Im telling Leica what they should do) is getting in touch with guys which designed DMR/SLR/n or Pro Back CFAs and sensor and bribe them into making fitting CFA for any FF Sony sensor that Leica want to use in future digital RF of theirs. That and color profile and per-pixel color compensation. 🙂 (which is something that SLR/n has for example.. one of “secrets”).
Colors are important, if you actually shoot color, cause otherwise everyone can just shoot BW? 🙂 Not much point in color camera if it doesnt make really good colors..
The Kodak SLR/n used the FillFactory 14MPixel CMOS Sensor. Former FillFactory engineers founded CMOSIS in 2008, which makes the sensor in the M240.
The Kodak DCS760 used a Kodak CCD, the DCS760m was monochrome. I believe that the model number given to the M Monochrom (10 760) is somehow tied to the Kodak camera.
Don’t understand any of this?? Sorry. Could you make it simpler – for me to try to understand what you are trying to say.
When I bought an M9, I bought a camera for life. It is astoundingly good. I sure hope it lasts a long time because it’s all I need in a camera and I have no need, what-so-ever, to “upgrade” it.
Well I had the M9 from it’s inception until earlier this year and have had the M240 since january 2013 so I spent about a year working with them side by side and no way would I have gone back to the M9 only. Apart from the obvious advantages such as a decent LCD, quieter shutter, faster continuous mode, Live view and EVF (transforms wide-angle use), refined RF mechanism, vastly improved battery life, weather sealing, improved auto-iso implementation, HSS flash sync with the SF58 etc I find that the files whilst being a little less punchy out of camera to be more malleable, have a much better DR and more neutral. On the whole the M is just a much better all-rounder from reportage to landscape photography. The only downside I can see is the really hardly noticeable increase in size and the increase in weight. But anyway each to his own
I came to the M9 through the back door. It was too expensive for me at first,and I thought it was too big. I was using the Nex-5 with various rangefinder lenses since 2010.
Then came the Sony a seven, for which I had very high hopes. At first, I bought the a7R, but it soon became apparent that it had some very strange sensor issues. I returned it, and got a plain a7. Once again, the thick sensor stack made shooting 28 or wider so painful.
I begin comparing a7 files with files from the m9. At 28 mm there was just no comparison. So, last January I found a used m9 with a brand-new sensor for $3500, and I bought it.
At first I was somewhat astonished at all the aspects of using the camera. However, I was also pleasantly astonished by the images it produced. Nine months later I am nearly used to all the quirks of the M9. I love the camera, and I shoot everything except macro and 400 mm bird shots with it. I still own an a7 as back up.
At this point, I don’t even have a problem with the LCD! Unlike Ashwin, I have no problem to check critical focus with the LCD. I just zoom.
I also have zero lust for the M240. I was of the opinion that you couldn’t make images look like the M9, with the M240. But over at FM forums many other users begged to differ, and they really opened my eyes as to what the M240 is capable of. I still don’t want one, but now I know they are good too.
In terms of “pure photography”, like the Nikon ads LOL, The M9 is the greatest digital camera ever made. And I’ll add that the Leica M8 today is the most underrated great camera in the world. I don’t own one, and never have, but I look at those M8 images and drool.
I agree with you 100%.
Horrible color and a heavy lump to lug around.
It also produces flat and lifeless color images unless the planets are aligned.
I only like mine for B+W, but since I bought the Monochrom I don’t need it for that.
The A7s is a much better color camera and handles low light like a charm, sorry Leicaphiles 🙁
Excellent and honest article, Ashwin – many thanks! Expensive gear require honest, critical analysis and you certainly have provided that!
My last Leica was an M7. The photos it produced were incredible (Leica look). I loved rangefinder focusing and the simplicity of setting the parameters, but I found numerous limitations in using film. The advent of digital photography was heaven-sent to me, so I sold my M7 kit (I do wish I’d kept the lenses!) The M8 and its successors were ghastly expensive, both in absolute terms and relative to competitor gear of like quality. More importantly, there were a number of serious issues with each version (some of which you mentioned) that did not justify the expenditure.
Instead, I now use the Sony 7Rs with native lenses and some Zeiss M-mount lenses. I am totally happy with the output and the way the camera functions. While Sony camera and lenses are not cheap, they are not in the stratospheric price range of Leicas. Yes, I miss the rangefinder focusing and the simplicity, but no low light capabilities, banding, odd coloring, slowness, etc., for $7M+? That requires a fanboy fanaticism that I don’t possess.
Interesting read and wonderful photos, Ashwin.
I’m happy with my switch from M9 to the M240 due to the improved battery life, more pleasing shutter release sound, better high ISO performance (making use of Nik Dfine debanding as needed), and what I have found to be a more precise rangefinder focusing experience. The increased weight and girth are a downside to me, but I can live with it. Colors to me are a wash.
The biggest problem I’ve found with my M240 that I didn’t have with the M9 is that my M240 occasionally freezes and needs a battery pull. This seems to happen at times that I shoot several photos in quick succession and only rarely but is extremely annoying.
I’d like to suggest – simply to suggest – that side-by-side comparisons are a good place to start, but a poor place to finish. They are useful for determining technical details: sharpness, noise, light fall-off etc. But they might make you think too much. I think that a sampling of photos from each camera is better.
So you have, say, 100 shots from the M9 and 100 from the M240. The group that scores higher tells you which camera you prefer. This is more of a ‘real world’ understanding of each camera. The sample size is more than enough to eliminate most of the uncertainty. It’s better to have two groups of 100 shots than a few side-by-side comparisons which can, and probably will be, argued to death.
So, if you thought this article was controversial, I think I’ve taken it up a notch. 🙂
BTW Thorsten Overgaard likes the b&w JPEGs from the M9. He has very large and detailed reviews of each camera, and they are quite enjoyable to read.
Great write-up Ashwin. Wow… Crazy that people are telling you that you have no idea what you’re talking about after using/living with both cameras for an extended period of time. Just proves some things like the intangibles are 100% subjective.
I of course came to the same conclusion that you did regarding the M240 (it wasn’t for me even if technically superior to the M9.) I held onto my M9 until this summer when I sold it after not touching it for 4 months after getting acclimated with the A7 series. I loved the M9 and it’ll always be a special camera to me. I couldn’t justify Leica’s prices (although I still try to justify buying a MM) these days (with an impending near future engagement coming up) when photography is still mostly a hobby.
I’ve since moved to Sony as my main hit as my A7 and A7r bodies together costs about the same as a used M9. The A7s calls me (I tried it in store and it’s great) but I think I will wait for the next iteration as I’d like all my FF cameras to be 16 megapixels+ because I do print large almost exclusively (16″x24″ @ 360ppi being the smallest I ever print anything.)
I agree with other that you can make both cameras sing but there’s more magic glowing Leica fairy dust in the M9 (although most mistake it for the CCD factor.) Good luck with the M9… again.
180 responses? No way I have time to read them all.
Ashwin, it’s obvious that at the level of quality that either the M9 or M type 240 can produce in photos, which one you prefer is exactly that, the one you prefer. And if you prefer the M9, good on it: Enjoy it, make the photos that you love with it.
I still have my M9. Still like the way it works and enjoy the photos it makes. What comes out of it in JPEGs I find always needs quite a lot of work, particularly on color rendering, which is why I usually have it set to output only DNG files unless I’m traveling (so I can see the JPEGs on my iPad).
The M type 240 has appealed to me a lot for its significantly improved responsiveness, primarily, as well as the improved battery life, etc. The tests I’ve done with one prove to me that, for what I’m looking for, the DNG files out of it are a bit nicer to work with than the M9 overall, with some plusses and minuses here and there. The ounce or two of additional weight is mostly inconsequential.
But I haven’t bought one yet. Why? Because in general the M9 is still just fine when I want a system camera with interchangeable lenses. Most of the time, however, all I really want is a Leica M4 sized camera with a Leica quality 35mm lens—and at a fraction the cost of upgrading from M9 to M type 240, or buying the Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH, the Leica X typ 113 provides that beautifully.
As above, at the level of quality all of these cameras produce, what I prefer is simply what I prefer. It’s what’s behind the camera that counts much more, and your photos show that you have that essential piece of the equipment well in hand… 🙂
Enjoy your M9!
I can’t understand why anyone who owns a $7000 dollar camera would rely on out of camera jpegs. The beauty of the files from both the M9 and M-240 is that they are so malleable when using software. One of the biggest learning curves for a modern photographer is to understand what can be achieved using Lightroom and Photoshop.
If the image looks good in jpeg out of the camera, why fiddle with it in Lightroom or Photoshop? Sitting at a computer all day long playing around with an image is only for those who enjoy sitting at their computer for hours on end fooling around with an image. I don’t. And I’ve done it. I had to with the M9. I don’t with the M 240.
no need to do it all day Richard.
Richard, that seems a little simplistic to me. I don’t “sit at a computer all day long fooling around with an image,” nor does any other photographer I know of who prefers a raw workflow. Once a photographer has some skill with today’s image processing tools, most raw images require a few seconds, at most minutes, of work to render to a finished product which is better than most in-camera JPEG engines can achieve. So the time involvement of a raw post processing workflow is typically small. My experience is that if I shoot 100 exposures with the M9 and get the exposure and focus right, I can get the white balance, contrast curve, and standard rendering right on all of them in about 30 seconds using Lightroom.
A raw post processing workflow saves time and reduces distraction when shooting because it defers making white balance and rendering decisions to after the fact of the exposure. A JPEG workflow requires more time and attention making decisions about white balance, contrast, sharpness, and other image processing concerns. So whatever time you might have saved in post processing you will usually spend in the shooting effort, unless you are comfortable and satisfied with the automation systems in your digital cameras doing the right thing consistently, reliably.
The larger time investment in any post processing workflow is in selecting which images are keepers, meet the client’s needs, meet the project’s needs, and all that stuff. By and large the JPEG vs raw workflow time sink is a draw, which workflow to prefer depends upon how you shoot and what your subjects’ demands in terms of adjustment control overhead might be.
I have at least two friends who spend hours tweaking photos they take. They enjoy it. One of them takes the attitude that taking a photo is drudgery while manipulating it is fun.
Well, I get no pleasure from fooling around in post.
On the other hand, I really enjoy the photographing process.
Most pros I know shoot jpeg. This is especially true with photographers who specialize in headshots of actors or performers. They don’t have the time to sit and fool around. Time is money.
And what makes you think I rely on automation? I always shoot in full manual mode. I set the ISO. I set the shutter speed. I adjust the color. And with the M, aperture and focus must be done manually.
I also shoot manually with a Sony RX1R. Only exception is occasionally I rely on the autofocus.
“… Most pros I know shoot jpeg. This is especially true with photographers who specialize in headshots of actors or performers. They don’t have the time to sit and fool around. Time is money. …”
I have to say that I find this most amusing. You and many others tell me that most pros shoot jpeg. Yet on two other forums I participate in, where the other participant tout their pro status rather a lot, they spend hours and hours debating the fine nuances of one raw converter over another. Ah, “the arguments of Wizards!” 😉
Remember I said “… So whatever time you might have saved in post processing you will usually spend in the shooting effort, UNLESS you are comfortable and satisfied with the automation systems in your digital cameras doing the right thing consistently, reliably…” Unless being the key word there.
We shoot similarly, I bet, in some ways. I spend about half my time in full manual mode (focus, ISO, exposure time and aperture) regardless of camera. I don’t bother with color balance on average most of the time, though, because AWB gets close enough on average for singleton images and it’s so quick to adjust in LR. I don’t look at film mode, saturation, contrast, sharpening in-camera at all, most of the time, as they are irrelevant to my post processing effort.
Whatever works for you. I know I’m rarely satisfied with the out-of-camera JPEG results of most cameras, most of the time, and prefer the raw workflow. That’s my choice, whether I’m working “pro” or doing my own thing.
Most pros I know shoot jpeg. Why do you find that so amusing?
It happens to be the truth. Two pros, one who’s a neighbor, never shoots in RAW.
Another who’s a noted wedding photographer shoots some in RAW, but most in jpeg.
None have the time to sit and play. What manipulating they do is mostly retouching which goes rather quickly.
Like you said. Whatever works.
I’m not putting people down who do shoot RAW. What I’m saying is I like to shoot in the format and my M 240 produces stunning results. My M9 sucked in jpeg. Really awful color rendition.
It is amusing from the context of when I wrote my comment, I’d just left the deep discussion of nuances of raw converters between several “pros” on another forum, and here you are telling me “pros shoot jpeg” … 😉
Most pros I know (including myself) use a mix of raw and JPEG, whichever is appropriate to the work, and bill for post processing time as part of the job contract. Whether the job required raw or JPEG capture isn’t relevant, all jobs have some post processing time associated.
Yes, lots of pros shoot jpeg. In fact, most pros doing headshots shoot only jpeg.
Bottom line here is the M 240 is a superior camera to the M9.
Having owned both I can say that without any reservations.
In fact, I find nothing about the M9 to be superior. And I think the dropping of the value of used M9’s speaks for itself. If it was a superior camera, the used market would reflect it.
The local Leica Store sells a lot more M240’s than ME’s.
I’ve shot RAW with both the M9 and M240. I found the files out of the M240 were superior with far more dynamic range. Better, more lifelike color. And superior contrast.
Jpegs are highly superior with the M240.
The rear LCD on the M240 is in another league over the impposibly outdated screen on the M9..
The menu on the 240 is improved over the M9.
I like the built-in thumb grip on the 240.
And the actual rangefinder focusing seems better on the 240.
The frame lines on the M9 would be hard to see in a dark environment.
Not so with the M240.
Live view and focus peaking allow the use of R lenses on the 240.
And my Leica SF58 flash never did work properly with the M9.
It workes perfectly in TTL with the 240.
Wow. Nearly 160 responses. Your blog posts always generate such great feedback. You have once again posted wonderful photos and a very insightful article.
From my perspective, I have found the colors from the M9 (especially the flesh tones) to be on the pale side. As an M240 owner, I have been happy with the tones that come from my camera. I guess post-processing can make the necessary adjustments to a certain extent.
I have owned the M9 and now the M240 and I found with both that the way you shoot has a huge effect on getting the potential out of each camera. When I owned the M9 many files underwhelmed me but occasionally the light would sing and the depth of field suited the lens -camera combo and it was a beautiful Leica moment. The M240 is a different beast and is less contrasty and less cool and it’s taken me some time to understand how to get the best out of the files. Now I have, I prefer the camera FOR ME but it is deeply personal and subjective… ultimately one camera doesn’t make the same image any better…. It’s a different, subjective look.
A couple of interesting observations about Leica; firstly they print so much better than they look on screen… especially compressed images on websites. Secondly the light makes all the difference to the quality of the shot and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the brighter the better… In fact to be honest with the M240 the moodier the light, the better I think the lenses render on the sensor.
Rangefinder shooting is not about how good other companies cameras are in comparison… Leica is a luxury but it makes you shoot in a different way and makes you see in a different way.
Just my two pennies…. By the way Ashwin has always provided excellent comment and fantastic images over the years so I always have time and respect for what he contributes. I don’t disagree with what he says for him, it’s just that for me I prefer the M240.
In deep respect to the cameras I just want to say that your photography is AWESOME!! Even without Leica you’ll be great at taking beautiful shots! Thanks for shearing!
Thank you for being so honest
I did too dislike the colour rendering of the M 240 especially the skin tones. I lately bought the M selling my M9 for it.
The reasons: 1. did not like the LCD screen.2. Did not like the buffer work, so slow
I love the M shutter,the LCD screen , the better ISO and the fact it is faster,
Yes it froze once and i had to pull out the buttery ( odd)
I use the vibrance and get Leica like photos ( i did the same with my M9 )
As for the photos , I think you are a very good photographer and yet i was not too impressd this time( being honest)
I also think you failed showing the difference between both cameras.
Could someone do a side by side comparison between the two cameras and point out the difference on those samples, please?
I’d like to see difference between those cameras by looking at the same subject.
Steve has done this – see his M240 review for some full-res comparisons.
You sound bossy
No I’m really very nice – that’s the problem with 2D formats cf talking. Got it!
Ashwin, I too love my M9 and have used it for many magazine articles (leaving the Canon equipment in the car) and personal projects I have worked on and there is (to me at least) something so wonderful about the way a CCD sensor renders images and when I see it in print I literally don’t feel (although I still do) the need to shoot film. I do truly hate the LCD screen (pretty much have to use some blind faith there) and I wish that Leica would continue to develop their CCD line but with that said I am thrilled by the quality of the M9.
What I see is that comparing images on a base of low resolution files doesn’t come to a practical point of discussion.
Also, the war of megapixels must have reached an end; otherwise the new star wouldn’t be the film M-A or the M version 60’s, which seems specially designed for blind people.
Thanks Ashwin, Really nicely put. I’ve always wondered if I should have “upgraded” to the M240. I’m glad I didn’t. I had the same concerns about the “pixel” character when I first saw the M240’s pictures and rendering. Unlike you and steve (and most everyone here), I am an amateur. Dan Tamarin sold me a heliopan circular polarizer to go with my M9P/50lux and my colors have been wild since.
The M9 is as close to using a Leica film camera as you will find. CCD sensors output raw count from each sensor element. CMOS sensors apply on-chip signal processing, such as oversampling during the exposure to reduce noise and stretch dynamic range.
Leica makes the M-E, which is basically an M9. Sensors get “Rev’d” during production runs, often sensors from later runs are better than the early ones. My late-production M8 turns out some good ISO2500 files, and I have no problem using the M9 at ISO2500. Some reviews of the M-E give it slightly higher DR than the M9 that was tested early on. There are rumors that Leica will produce a new version with a higher resolution screen. You will never get live-view from a large CCD sensor, the frame readout rate is too slow.
This is an excellent point. I remember when CMOS sensors and live view were introduced just afew years ago. At this time several reviewers found that using the live view
a. used up the battery fast and
b. increased the temperature inside the camera to a point when noticable image degradation occurs.
I wonder if this is still a problem, and might be the reason why people prefer the M9 oder the M240…
I have a Monochrom and a M240. MM purchased first and then the M240.
Read all the reviews when deciding between the M240 and the M-E (the still current M9).
I figured manufacturers improve and advance their products and therefore opted for the M240.
Video/LV/EVF/TTL-viewing were not features I was preying for on my MM but were part of the M240’s price. Can’t do harm I thought and maybe I will use them?
So that’s my background. BEFORE I comment I would like to make 2 points:
1/ the pictures, the prime purpose of a camera, from both cameras are the best I’ve ever had and the simple rangefinder experience is the one me
2/ Leica, do not make cameras based on EACH and EVERY individual’s wish-list of features
My comments in comparing an M240 to the MM (so not CCD colour vs CMOS colour):
In summary I love my MM much more than my M240. My issues with the M240 are:
– the way it feels in the hand is just not as nice as the MM
– I want a handgrip but I cannot get on with the M240’s which doubles the height of the bottom plate, makes camera look ugly and my nails end up digging into the M240 body when using it
– more complicated and with more features than it needs to have (I would consider the Edition 60 just to get rid of the ‘extras’ but struggle with it’s value both now and in the future)
– look (red-dot, additional buttons)
– I just don’t love it in the same way as the MM but recognise that Leica don’t build custom cameras around individual people’s wishes (at least not at a sensible price)
If they did, I would not care too much about sensor type as once you really understand your camera this is not so much of an issue: I get 3d pop and great colours on my M240, I would like an M-E that looks like a P model (M9P or M240P) i.e understated and that is NEW, not used.
So for those of you who have an M9P purchased from new … keep it would be my view!
Thanks Ashwin I can see rational here. Its part of the reason I just have a Monochrom now.
I like that rationale, Brian. The M Monochrom is the best of Leica’s offerings, in my opinion
I’ve never seen photos from Ash before. My first impression is that he has impeccable timing and has mastered rangefinder photography. Some of these are shots I myself would not dare attempt with a rangefinder. Specifically, the basketball shot, and the kids with the bubble.
I disagree wholeheartedly with you haluk. I kinda think you just wanna dis on a Leica owner.
Thanks, JJ. I appreciate your kind words!
Ashwin, thank you for prompting such a great thread, as an M9 owner I too have dwelt in the existential mire of : to M or not to M, Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer a poor screen, and feeble ISO ,Or to take arms against an SD card of troubles, and by purchasing a 240 end them. As one raised on an M2 was so shocked by the size and weight of the 240, I left the shop carrying a brand new Rollei Hy6. ( I blame Huff’s Hy6 review) on the in for penny in for a kilo theory of life. Right my anti GAS therapy session calls.
I have a Leica M9 and I love the files. The M9 obviously does have its disadvantages like bad ISO performance, a crappy LCD screen, it is prone to dust on the sensor and it is very quirky and not very reliable in general… but the files are very nice… I also have the Sony A7s and up till now I find that camera a bit overhyped quite honestly. I have the 55mm lens which is good but not spectacular. I am trying my Leica and Zeiss lenses using the Voigtlander VM-E adapter but up till now I remain a bit skeptical and unconvinced.
Did anyone consider the Leica M-E?
Isn’t it an M9 with a funny paint job?
Cheaper too than the M 240. With a new Camera warranty.
These discussion are always so difficult because everything is so subjective. I personally love the M9 pics, now this is an innoucous comment to me. But in the context of a discussion is it the camera, the photographer, the lens or hundred other variables?
To me the M9 pics I have seen from a lot of photographers always seem to stand out, skin tones especially (and contrary to the usual comments it not as easy to replicate in post processing and most would be challenged to take one of the pics from let’s say Prosophos and try to replicate) have better colour, crisper rendering and I put that down to CCD sensor. It is a bit unique. Like the Foveon sensor. I have seen most ofthe M240 reviews and the pics never look the same from the same photographer.
But on the other side the M9 rangerfinder needs frequent calibration, the ISO is poor, there have been a lot of reports online of sensors going bad and taking months to replace and with Kodak now out of business M9 sensors are going to become a problem.
The only other camera that seems to deliver the same quality (to me) is the Canon 6D. The colors and rendering again is unique and much better that I see from others. Steve’s 6D review was fantastic. Sony has been doing some great work, it really does seem someone in Sony imaging is passionate about cameras and photography and I hope they will come up with something.
I think this CCD versus CMOS thing is overblown, and has nothing to do with the sensor technology.
Rather, I think it is more likely the color filtration choices: to let in more light, the newer high-sensitivity sensors are less selective with the color wavelengths, and so they lose color reproduction accuracy. With CCD sensors, the manufacturers basically gave up on high ISOs, so they just went for maximum base iso image quality, which entails better filters.
This is just my postulate, though.
I’m thinking along the same lines. It must be the Bayer filter, in combination with the debayering algorithm. Those factors are indirectly related to the type of sensor used.
What is interesting is that the M9’s CCD with the Bayer filter removed gains a lot of sensitivity. Up from a useable ISO 1600 to a useable ISO 10,000. That’s about 2.5+ stops. I don’t know if this says anything useful, though, as it might be quite normal for all Bayer filters.
Here’s an experiment: use the same Bayer filter and algorithm on the M 240’s sensor and vice versa. I’d love to see those results, purely for fun.
It’s worth remembering that not only is the Bayer filter an ‘analogue’ device: the sensor is, too. Sensors are not ‘digital’ – they are ‘analogue’ transducers which work together with A-D convertors. Maybe it’s not relevant to the main question, but the devil is always in the details. 🙂
To further complicate matters if that is possible ! – what is your opinion of the M9 versus the M240 with regard to black and white photography? You I am sure are familiar with the view that the CCD sensor and the IR issues (for want of a better term) contribute positively to the monochrome image from both the M8 and M9.
I have only experience of the M8 and black and white at low ISO is excellent here and I have read it is similar with the M9. I have heard that black and white from the M240 is excellent only bested by the MM at higher ISO. I am mentioning this with an eye to the future new M240 inspired MM that is apparently in the pipe line.
It’s quite interesting this thread about digital Leicas M differences that concerns Leica’s users. I think the best solution would be to take the same picture at the same time with the M9 and the M 240 in contemporary, to put all in photoshop and elaborate in bracketing mode to have the best result, the better iso capabilities of the M 240 and he better look of M9 files all together.
I feel this review from Ashwin provides very important and timely feedback to Leica :
Under the 3 year cycle norm, the time for R&D work on the M.240/M-P replacement is on Leica.
Some have suggested a M.240 based Monochrom might be produced ; however it now seems that this would be unpopular given the love of the crispness in the CCD in the MM against the girth of the M.240 and it’s processor/firmware limitations. I really hope the MM and M.240 replacements will be in a slimmer body.
Guess I will be sticking with my M9,MM combo for the foreseeable future.
I’m a little annoyed by this review as well.. It seems you really just don’t have a handle on the M240 files. The LV/EVF/Menus are something you can forget about, so they really shouldn’t be negatives. In fact, I set my ISO/WB for the day/area and forget about it and everything else aside from shutter/aperture which don’t require the menu.
Would I buy an M9 again? Nope, not a chance.. Would I buy a M-CCD if it were similar to the M240, yep, you bet.. And I’d use it for well over a year before I passed judgement on it.
Great article and much fun to read.
I struggled a bit with the M240 when I first got it, but figured out a few tricks in Lightroom to get the colours closer to the M9.
Having said that, I never let go of my old M9 and still use it occasionally under ideal light conditions.
(but ‘dang’ how horrible is the LCD after getting used the the M240’s?)
Thanks again for a fun and interesting read!
Exactly. I shot a couple hundred photographs, mixed them up with M9 photos, and when I looked at the metadata, I realized two things: that only five photographs out of a day’s street shooting late into the night were taken over ISO1000 (which is perfectly fine on the M9 and no worse than 2,500 on the M240), and that I had spent a lot more time processing the M240 files to make them look the way I like them.
I personally owned a M240 and it is beautifully made. I love M9 as well. Why compare? To me, the camera is just a tool. I do love the photos you took: Gorgeous, I love them a lot.
I tend to agree that the rendering of the two cameras is different. people who dont see that wont know what you are talking about. we all have different eyes, as we have ears. some hear perfect, others think they do until they visit the doctor 😉
apart from that i doubt that many people here did such a deep comparison between the two cameras than you did. neither will many have a calibrated screen (or even know what that is).
what i am trying to say is, that i am shure that you did your work well and you would not have sold your new M just for fun or because of gas. there is a reason to go back to an M9. if it is the better camera lies in the eyes of the beholder. i found the article very interesting and i appreciate your work on it. thanks for sharing.
Followed the same path, had an M9-P, sold it for M240, six months later came back to an M9-P. Won’t try to describe the difference, I’ll just say that *MY* pictures look better out of the M9 and that’s all that matters. I don’t want to have to fix them in post process to get them the way they come by default out of the M9.
I like the pure blue color of M9, which it is CCD character ! Back to M9
Thanks to everyone for the incredibly civil comments and discussion here. I am impressed by the conversation and dialogue, which was the point of writing the article….
It’s extremely interesting. what makes the difference between a M240 with a CMOS sensor and a Sony A7 with same lens? Let’s say a Summilux 50 Asph. The shooting experience, yes that’s true. But the files aren’t similar? The M9 with is CCD sensor has smother transitions. The files are beautiful. That’s my biggest concern about upgrading to the 240.
Excellent post; I have both cameras, and I debated for a long time before getting the 240. I’ve not experienced anything related to the startup time comments from a few. I use a SandDisk 64GB 95mb/s card and my M-P 240 fires up almost instantly. I love the shutter, menus are fine/easy, but since I don’t care about Live View or movie modes, I am still a bigger fan of the CCD from my M9…and I almost always shoot black and white. I do find the 240 files ‘brighter’ for a given ISO; sometimes I almost feel like I want to use exposure comp and dial it back a touch. And I do notice the weight…I often shoot with the 28 elmarit asph on the 240 because my 50 Lux makes it even heavier!
Two words: Daniel Zvereff. IMO he is doing some absolutely beautiful work with the 240.
– I never had M9, but M8 was such a jewel!
-I had a rare anti-Panda edition and miss it so much since I sold it.
– So, now I have M-P edition of M240 and MM.
– I use Monochrome when in need of creativity.
– I use M-P with its increased buffer capacity and better FPS ratio to capture my kids playing, jumping and goofing around – with amazing results.
– Leica is Leica.
– Every camera is unique.
– I would, probably, agree with Ashwin on the basic thesis: if you have M9 or, better, M9P, don’t ever succumb to the GAS syndrome and don’t look for better Leica.
– ‘Cause every Leica is THE BEST LEICA!
I dont see any differences in the images between the two cameras.
You have made a point here.
Unless you take the same picture at the same time with both bodies and using the same lens, you cannot compare.
Also, you end up choosing photos that you like more – not really on the basis of which camera body you prefer.
Get your calculator and see what did you paid to Leica since your first digital rangefinder and maybe you could have gotten one of that absurd 1956′ 100000$ MP
the picture of the girl and the soap bubble is one of the best pictures I’ve ever seen!
Thanks so much, Peter
Go ahead and get absolutely rid of that syndrome:
Get an M8
I too tested the M240 and passed on it. I got so much criticism for saying how I felt about the M240, especially after the initial release when the white balance was way too warm. One of the major problems with the M240 is its increase sensitivity to IR, which is a step backward from the M9. A good example is your last picture. The purple of the baseball caps and the black jacket just don’t look right, and this is in daylight where the IR cast is not at its worst.
Bernd, take a closer look at the baseball photo: I think you’ll see that it’s not 100% daylight – it’s a mix of overcast & artificial lighting, which is reflected on the batting helmet of the player facing the camera, and falling on the players on the right. So unless the photo was corrected for this, I’m not sure IR sensitivity is the culprit here. (btw, I have no dog in this fight, having yet to transition out of M-film; just a curious lurker hoping to gain insight from experienced users such as yourself)
Just wanted to ad the only camera I regretted selling otherThan the m9 for the look of the sensor was my d700
Well I sold my m9 cancelled my m240 order re purchased an m9 and recently purchased an m240 so now I have both and I like both of them for the look they produce the m9 very filmic glowing retro look the m240 my version anyways one of the cleanest looking sensors I have ever experienced great for certain things.
Btw I also have the a7r and find my shots from it more like the m9 than m240 with old leica glass digital cameras are basically scanners at least with film you can pick the look with the film you chose much more versatile really
I bought the M240, sold my M9, rebought an M9p 6 months later because I thought the color was better, shot side by side, couldnt make out a clear winner in regards of color (sometimes M9 was better, sometimes M240 seemed better) but found the faster buffer, better display, more smooth shutter, buttons and wheel a big plus. Sold the M9p…rebought the M9p 3 months later because I thought the size was nicer. But I only used it once and then gave it away again. Im totally sure now – for me the M type240 suits me better.
IMO color is a wash between the two cameras, sometimes the M9 has a nice pop, but sometimes its over saturated, sometimes lips look pinkish and color transitions are not as smooth as the new M. The new M has a lot more DR.
I dont use live view for 35 and 50mm, but I now dont need to bring bring an external viewfinder for occasional use of 21mm – if I need exact framing I just use live view with the display-which works fine for UWA.
The only thing which I like improved in regards of the new M is a little less weight for the camera…and a little better AWB, and I see some slight room for improvement of color.
The A7s seems often little too cold, the M little too warm.
I have never seen an article that better describes what a pro photographer friend of mine calls LDS or “Leica Delusion Syndrome.” As he explains it, after one has paid so much money for an underperforming and feature challenged piece of equipment, Leica Fairies visit the purchasers home and sprinkle pixie dust on him or her so that they never wake up from thinking about that “Leica Magic” in their photographs.
Would I like to own a Leica? Certainly! It is a beautifully built piece of equipment. I just haven’t seen any photographs from them that cannot be produced from a good photographer with “inferior” equipment at a fraction of the cost. And I surely would not consider it as serious daily shooter. There are some quarters where you would best be served by packing heat when venturing out with it.
When I think of a Leica, the word elegant comes to mind, as in ingeniously simple, or everything you need and nothing you don’t. As elegant as a Leica is physically, it falls quite short in it’s use.
I have used Leica range finders as “daily shooters” for years. Both film and digital. No problems. Always get the shot. Don’t even think about “Leica magic”, Pixie Dust”, “inferior, superior equipment” or any of that other nonsense. I just like the result Isn’t that all that matters?
I see lots of other great pictures taken with other cameras. I don’t care what equipment produced them.
I think its pretty silly to broadcast sweeping generalizations about equipment.
This argument has gone on since SLR’s were introduced. THe rangefinder is simply a different way of seeing. If one prefers it, one’s options are limited to a few choices. Many of us are chosing between Leica’s recent offerings. The point is not at all to compare Leicas to anything else out there..
You have some sort of point (although you are mistaken in your last sentence). Lots of people – how many, I don’t know – are thinking like you’re thinking. The iPhone 6 is so good that it has replaced their DSLRs. Why buy something – cheap or not – that’s bulky and redundant? This won’t apply to professionals as much, but there are more amateurs than pros out there.
The iPhone may not be cheap, but it’s effectively a very capable camera that’s always there when you need it.
I have perhaps not made myself totally clear. I think Leicas are absolutely beautiful cameras. My own less than satisfactory experience with a Leica that I purchased, notwithstanding, I would own one in a heartbeat had I the money. I think they are worth every penny they charge simply because they are truly hand built works of mechanical art, and because of their history. And Leica lenses are superlative! I just think many people who own them over-Romanticize their capabilities.
FYI. It is my only shooter, not just my daily shooter. None pays attention to it. It has no red dot. It looks less conspicuous than a canikon with a 2.8/24-70. Even in the dodgiest places, I’ve never had an issue or a second look for that matter. It is whisper quiet and in good light the images are clearly different from ANY other device (better is a subjective term). I saved up for the camera for 3 years and thousands of images later have no regrets. It is still worth more than a similarly priced car from 3 years ago.
Lovely report, a great user experience and one where I have to agree completely. I’m basically in the same boat. The only difference: I never bought a M240 in the first place (but tested one).
I don’t like the new body design as its just went to thick in certain areas and then the increase weight which is even further way from an film one…. the shuitte is smother, and less noise but lost the mechanical “sound-experience” which to my surprise quite a few people love.
I always think of the M9(P) of a sort of digital Kodachrome. The real digital-analogue rangefinder.
As for CCD vs CMOS, well I already been there. The same happened at Olympus. The great E1 is still hard to beat at colour at low ISO, despite being from 2003. Ok, Olympus switched to CMOS(well actually NMOS) but it took them till OMD-EM1 to have a camera that is based on the latest and greatest and to have actual great colour rendition…. however the E1 still gives its a run for its money so to say….
First of all I just want to say I really respect Ashwin’s opinion and dig his work. However, my personal experience is quite different from Ashwin’s.
I think the dynamic range is more than “slightly improved”.
The highlights have a different curve/rolloff before clipping and in the 85-90% range there is more to be recovered in the blue color channel (think street photo with a seemingly clipped blue sky)
Like Ashwin I was concerned about the quality of skin tones; I find the midtones to be a lot better and I’ve come to a different conclusion than the 240 files being to yellow/orange: the m9 files are actually too magenta. This was something I was actually aware of before the arrival of the 240.
I find the 240s white balance to be a major improvement over the m9; the m9 was off in any light other than daylight and had severe problems under mixed light. With the 240 I can do a portrait indoors with natural light coming in the white balance is almost spot on every time.
I saw people saying the rangefinder itself was brighter; I really can’t say I had any problems with the m9 or Monochrom..
About the start up time; yes, it’s slow with a lot of SD card, but Thorsten Overgaard specifically recommends the 64GB Sandisk 95mb/s card and start up time went from 3 to a little under 1 sec.
I have made som “m9 look” presets in Lightroom and basically they have different curve with slightly “compressed” midtones (higher contrast with less DR), slightly upped clarity, a little less yellow/orange (resulting in more magenta for skin tones).
The banding issue is something I think every photographer who has ever handled the Monochrom is very sensitive to. At any iso above 320 the Mono has no banding; I have iso 1600 files that I pushed three whole steps without seeing banding. (I know I know; expose properly, but try concert shooting where you suddenly have strobes directly towards the camera because the guitarist suddenly moved)
I regularly expose +0,3 or +0,7 with a 50 on the 240 and see no banding at 3200.
And by the way; 3200 is cleaner than the m9 was at 1250…
In conclusion I love the improved battery life, LCD, faster read/write times, silent shutter and higher iso capabilites.
On a side note the aforementioned crispiness; I see that with the Mono more than the M9…
I will chime in as well. I feel the DR of the M 240 is a HUGE upgrade over the M9, which blows out quite easily in comparison. I have used both extensively and the M 240 since its release. It took me a few weeks to get used to the new look, but for ME, I could never go back to the 9 for so many reasons. Others love the M9 and have very valid reasons for sticking with it. They are different looks though for sure. I much prefer the 240 for the new shutter, the new battery (which is amazing), the new colored frame lines ( I prefer red), and the better DR and high ISO range, which I have used at 6400 without banding or issues (but usually max out at 3200). Even so, these days I prefer the A7s for my color photography. 😉 Your mileage may vary. Oh, and I never had color issues with the M240 except for the 1st two weeks in testing. See my sample M 240 page and you will see better skin tones that I was able to eek from my M9.
The simple fix to the start up time is indeed the 65/95 card. Too bad Aswin didn’t try this before selling.
Hi Morten, I agree with you on the MM on all accounts. It’s my favorite digital RF.
I think this thing of the skin tones is a bit overdone. It’s not that much of a challenge in post to achieve lower reds and magentas to deal with any problem skin tones you encounter (to be clear, this doesn’t happen that often) with the m240. It’s no more of a challenge (in fact much less so) than dealing with the very limited high ISO ability of the M9. Once you factor in the more accurate and reliable rangefinder in the M240 and the usefulness of live view for composing landscape, the M240 is just a much better camera. I don’t regret for a minute selling my M9. Some of the stuff written about the M9 sensor has a touch of the “Vinyl Records” about it…. 😉
I agree that the M240 is a better camera, at least as far as versatility is concerned. The M9 however, provides more of a straight forward Leica RF shooting experience and its CCD sensor rendering is the icing on the cake. I hope we see one day a digital M with a MP (analog) form factor, the M9 user interface, 150g lighter than the M240, the M240 shutter with a max speed of 1/8000, M240 RF window, M240 buffer and file write time and lcd and a 24MP CCD sensor under the hood at the price of the M-E.
“….a touch of the “Vinyl Records” about it…. ;-)”
Ohhh… that’s a bad idea to use such an analogy.
Vinyl rocks and digital as well as long as your have a really capable DAC and nothing below 16bit/44.1khz…. 😉
Like a lot of people commenting here I’ve been toying with getting the M240 to replace my M9. I borrowed one for a weekend and was initially underwhelmed by the look of the colours on the CMOS sensor – after a bit of tweaking I did manage to get the files nearer to what I was able to achieve with the M9. What I did start to enjoy with the M240 was the improved focusing on through the viewfinder – seemed to be spot on wide open. I also loved the focus peaking as enabled a different approach to shooting. Still debating the upgrade though as I’m still not convinced that these present enough benefits to justify the price. Like Ashwin I’m thinking of trying the A7s as a second camera for those times when I need higher ISO settings. I nearly always shoot with my 50mm Summilux and very rarely above the base ISO. Whilst I write this my M9 is away for 3 months (!) to have is sensor replaced (free of charge) and I was forced to use an old Ricoh GRII on a recent trip to Portugal. I ended up with some great shots and it reminded me that it’s not the equipment that matters in the end but the person using it.
Steve, Why do all my comments “await moderation” for a prolonged time? Surely you can see that my comment above, the first one posted here, is innocuous and makes the same basic point made by others above that do not, apparently need “moderation”
Its all automated by the system..if it flags a word, a phrase, or anything it feels may be not good to post it holds it for me to manually validate, which can take me anywhere form 1 hour to 24 hours.
Seems like nonsense. Maybe you should reset the system.
Given that there is a new piece everyday, I don’t think that will happen. It discourages any discussion while showing a lot of responses. I think it is brilliant. 🙂
Jack, just figure out what words not to use.
I’d puzzled over that, too. Nice to know it’s not personal ! And I’m sure it’s the only way Steve can handle the volume.
This is a bravely contrarian piece, persuasively “argued” with beautiful photos that make thhe point that the m9 has juju which the 240 does not. Ashwin, it would be wonderful if you wrote more frequently, more casually too about your thoughts on a range of photography topics.
Some of those photos are really nice, so thanks very much for sharing them. I rather like the portraits of the two girls. Image #3 is fantastic, also. And that girl bursting the huge soap bubble – what timing!
From what I know about both cameras, both are great. The only problem I have with the M9, really, is the shutter mechanism, inherited from the M8, I think (I owned an M8 for a while – it’s an underrated camera). From what I can gather, the M8 was by no means embarrassed by DSLRs of the time. Neither was the M9. The M240 has stronger competition these days, but not from DSLRs (there were few mirrorless systems in 2009, never mind 2006). Maybe Leica needs to learn to update quickly.
Either way, the M240 can be a RF and act like an SLR: two cameras in one. You cannot say the same for DSLRs (they have their place, though).
The M9 does suffer in the presence of harsh lighting, but so do many other digital cameras, DSLR or not. And the M9 has a higher useable ISO than you think. You say no higher than 800; I say around 1600. This is based on looking at M9 files.
It turns out that chrominance noise is more of a problem than luminance noise. Trying to reduce luminance noise on high ISO files makes them look like crap, no matter the camera. But cleaning up chrominance noise not only makes the image look nicer, I think it should be treated as compulsory. You can’t lose. And from what I have seen, with my limited experiments, the M9’s files at higher ISOs look pretty good once you clean up the chrominance noise.
Perhaps an M9 and A7s would make a good pair. There is everything you could want, other than outright resolution, with these two cameras.
Bought the M240 mainly to be able to use the EVF and extend the time I can use Leica glass… the eyesight is not the same in one’s mid-60s as it is 10 or even 5 years younger. To this end, I’ve found the 90 Summicron to be a terrific lens on the M240 (even with the pathetic Leica EVF) but nearly impossible to use on the M9. Ditto with the Noctilux. However… I’d echo the writers conclusion that the color rendering of the M9 is just that much better than the M240 (which seems to render color “flat”). Favorite lens on the M9 is the Voigtlander 35 f1.2. In all but the lowest low light this lens is easy to focus and around ISO 200 on the M9 one gets great, film-like color rendering.
Great review and thanks for a nice positive plug for the M9. Appreciated!
Thanks Ashwin! Great article. FrVery helpful. I was contemplating retiring my 5-yr M9 for possibly an MBA!
I meant M-P
Hi Ash, you mentioned in your article that M240 is better for poor eyes. Can you elaborate that a bit?
Aging eyes are said to have problems focusing with a traditional range finder mechanism. M240 has both Live View and EVF with focus peaking capability. M9 has not.
I traded in my M9 for a M Monochrom. Very happy with the MM, but still miss the M9, especially when I’m reviewing some of the images that I made with it. I agree with everyone about the color and crispness of the M9 images, but the Monochrom b&w image is even better. I am still amazed when I finally get the MM images on the computer screen and away from its dreadful in-camrera screen. I justified the trade by a desire to shoot more b&w and, like you, the acquisition of other cameras for color photography at a lower cost: Ricoh GR for wide angle, Sigma Foveon cameras with fixed lenses (so far less money than a new Leica M without any lenses and far less weight), and an Olympus M1 for longer lenses and super zoom (chasing birds). All great color images, but the M9 images I have always hold their own and make me wish there was a way to get them again with a more “modern” camera. The sensor on the GR is outstanding for color and apparently found its way into the new Leica X and Leica T cameras, so someone else must think that sensor superb as well. What’s next? Will there be a Leica M2 (? or is it M11) that has everything you’re asking for? Greater megapixels is not the answer by itself as the GR and Leica T and X have shown. Has to be an improved image sensor with say no more than 18-24 megapixels . . . I have no desire to buy bigger hard disks and a new computer to process larger image sizes. Quality, please. Thanks for the comparison. If someone is looking for a “last” camera to buy in retirement, and b&w is desired, then the MM is all you’ll ever need. [As usual, assuming you don’t need the money it takes to buy one.]
Great article. Echoed my thoughts in many ways about the two cameras. Had my M9P since it was launched, loved it and my 35 summilux to death and that started my Leica journey. I held off the M240 purchase way longer than most and only bought it 6 months ago at the Leica 100th anniversary event in Wetzlar as a souvenir of my visit….mainly cos I had been so happy with the M9P that I saw little reason to change just to be au courant.
Having used the M240 for 6 months now, I like the smoother shutter, the better ISO performance and the fact that I can use my 21 and 24mm lenses sans optical viewfinder. Like Ash, I hate the delay to start up and the need for several presses of the shutter release before the shot is taken if LV mode is used..one press to wake the camera, one more to turn on LV and then a third press to shoot. I missed so many shots due to this…I just couldn’t put it to my eye and shoot.
I will keep my M9P and monochrom because they are just wonderful, faults not withstanding, and I will keep the M240 for its better high ISO performance and shutter and for my wide lenses.
I have to Agree with Ashwin on all counts….nothing like the Monochrom…nothing like the CCD pop and I absolutely love using my A7s with all my Leica and Zeiss ZM lenses…since I purchased my A7s I rarely use the M240 and when I do it only reaffirms why I don’t….My M9-P is superb but clearly a day time or ample available light camera. For color, the Sony and the M9-P are superb with no lag issues..they are always there reproducing wonderful colors…for B&W I almost always use my Monochrom and for low light the A7s is the king of the night!!! Thank you for a great article !!!
Thanks Spyro, and thanks for commenting here. I recently joined the IPA meet. So many great photographs there. The A7s is an amazing camera, and for me, it did nearly all that I wanted, save for the RF experience….and the M9 remains a fantastic daylight/reasonable light/fast glass camera. I believe we have the same kit: M9, MM, A7s…
I bought Ashwin’s M 240 and have been loving kk it! For me, the evf with long and wides is great. Thanks Ashwin!
Kevin, it was an honor to sell the M240 to you. I agree that for those who use long and wide lenses regularly having an EVF is huge. I find this with my A7s.
The comparison is nonsense, how can you recommend a older camera with many limitations like the M9 to a M240. Hmmm a lot more astute photographers have a long time ago done the comparisons and nearly all have given the M240 the thumbs up. And then there is Leica itself, Phase One, Pentax, Hasselblad all dropping the CCD sensor for the CMOS in there Medium Format systems. If you are looking at a Leica Digital system I would not look at spending 3-4000 on a now disregarded and limited camera, do your research on those respected photographers look at their images and save for a M240.
Nonsense is a strong word, Pi, and you should take care to read comments before broadly judging my words so forcefully. For many, the comparison is relevant. I agree that the M240 deserves a thumbs up, but with the M9 around, the comparison becomes more complicated. And if you read the comments, you’d recommend that the M9 is not disregarded by any means. As for those respected photographers that you mention, I am close friends with many of them, and I have done my research, both online and with camera in hand. I believe that was the point…
Interesting that you prefer the M9 despite all the horrible color issues it has (not saying that the M240 is any better). Both even as seen by some of your own samples (some have huge color separations, fringes making it an unreliable tool) are reliable for color photography.
The MM is the only and the best digital RF cam made by Leica, to date, I think.
two different cameras, same logo.
M9 for retro RF digital people.
M240 for forward looking open minded people.
both take good pictures, both make their specific users happy, they’re not an (r-)evolutionary upgrade path.
If you hate one you love the other.
If you’re used to learn and adapt, you can upgrade, easily to the better M240.
I’d wait now, as the M240 is not recent anymore. EVF Port changed (see T/X), CPU is too slow for new accessories, UI will change for sure in next generation (I bet we’ll see T-like widgets). EVF will play a bigger role.
So if you’re leaning towards the “real classic”, stick with an M9-P or Monochrome for the next 2 years or longer.
If you’re on GAS, spend your money now, asap, it’ll stop GASing soon, then. 😉
Meanwhile I don’t bother with Cameras and just buy me a good lens.
I think you are absolutely right – the next M will – and should – have a touch screen. 🙂
Those of us who stretched to buy a used M9 are glad to read positive comments about it, for we surely don’t have the resources to move up to an M240. Thanks!
All that frustration and trial-and-error comes with a five-figure price tag, not including the huge digital depreciation! And people still insist that film is expensive! My FM2 is still clicking along happily after 30 years of good use. So are my two fixed focal length, manual-focus lenses. And I don’t have to fret about image IQ (?), white balance, 3D pop (???), bokeh (?!?!) and other uniquely digital concepts.
What a coincidence! I started in Leica with the M-E(M9 less the USB&preview lever), got carried away with the hype and replaced it with a M240. Just re-ordered the M-E, but will hold on to the M240. I re-ordered the M-E for the same reasons. Color and image rendering which I missed! The 2 cameras have their respective strengths and weaknesses.
Completely agreed, Demetrius
i didn’t switch to M240 while still happily using my M9-P.
In low light situation, my thought was to get a Sony A7s for that purpose.
Interesting discussion. I continue to use my m8 and love it. Amazing image quality
Bulk and weight and lack of uniqueness of its sensor`s rendering made me sell the M240 and stay with the M9. I was ok in early 2010 with the steep Leica price premium for the M9 because of its improvements over the M8, the RF experience and the unique CCD sensor`s rendering. The M240 does not offer enough to justify its price imho. Superios FF sensors can now be had in a number of cameras at much lower price points, including Sonys A7r and A7s, Nikon Df, Nikon 750, 810.
Having owned both the M 9 and M 240 and briefly having them both at the same time, I found the difference in size and weight was negligable. We’re talking only three-tenths of a pound more in weight for the 240. And a tiny amount in thickness. It’s a silly argument. Shove a hefty lens on the M 9 like the Noctilux and then on the M 240 abd I doubt anyone could really notice the difference.
Now if you want to talk about heft, try picking up a Canon 5D Mark III with a 70-200 zoom! That’s another camera I own, although haven’t used that much since I bought the M 240. After ten minutes hauling it around I feel like I’m carrying a bowling ball strapped to my neck!
I’ve taken several thousand shots with the M 9 and I’m now up over 2,000 with my M 240. I find the images taken with the 240 are better, especially in low light. And I like shooting in available light. Using a 35mm and 50mm f/1.4 Summilux with both cameras, the results from the M 9 looked grainy at anything over 800 ISO. With the 240 I’ve gone to 3,200 and have been amazed at the results.
But for me thie biggest improvement is with jpegs. I shoot everything jpeg. The M 9 jpeg performance was dreadful with muddy colors. This forced me to shoot RAW which for my was a pain. I don’t like fiddling with images.
The jpegs shot with the M 240 are stunning.
No other camera is as built as well as a Leica M. There’s a reason it costs what it does.
For those who can afford one, it becomes a prized possession.
I had to sell my M9 to fund an M240 (for reasons that were logical at the time), but recently I sold my M240 and am thinking once again about an M9. I agree with pretty well everything you say Ashwin, I just did not feel the marginal benefits of the M240, like the shutter sound everybody raves about, Live View, or battery life, overcame the disappointing default image. My MM is still far better than the M240 for B&W in terms of resolution if nothing else, but the M9 image had an immediate character, and I say that as somebody who is capable and willing to do lots of post processing if necessary to get the image I want. And I’m glad that I’m now not the only person to find the marginal increase in size and weight of the M240 actually adds up to it feeling a whole lot larger and heavier in practice. The balance of the body with the weight of the lenses (most of them) has gone south.
I must say that I still miss the CCD rendering and crispness of my M9 but have grown to love the M240 over the last year.
Startup time on mine is only 3 seconds .
Skin tones were an issue before the firmware update for me but haven’t concerned me since.
My main gripe with M240 / M-P 240 is the camera crashing which I find happens more with the EVF attached and without it not using continuous mode and taking regular images this shouldn’t happen on a camera of this calibre but to me is not a show stopper.
I guess the most important thing is that what you are using inspires you to be creative and I look forward to seeing many more great images from you as you certainly have been an inspiration to me.
I’ve been thinking to upgrade my M9 to M240 from time to time, but still unable to justify the price. I like the quieter shutter and higher usable ISO in M240. But that’s all. Still prefer the low ISO image of M9 by huge margin
I think it takes a lot more to know your camera. M240 is an excellent camera and nearly after 5000 shots under difficult conditions I have not faced any real problem. I still do prefer for some instances the colours and the contrast of M9 and I am still also using the M8. I think that overall M240 is superior to M9 and much more convenient for nearly any photographic session due to the EVF anf the the R adapter. I have not experienced any banding whatsoever and the performance upto 2000 ISO is very good. Under special mixed lighting conditions you need a grey card for sure, although I can easily adjust the WB in the pp if it is needed. M9 is different than M240 each one with its own merits. One thing is for sure. I would not trade in my M240 for an M9 and for sure not for any Sony a7.
But after all photography is a personal matter. What do other can say.
Thank you Ashwin I was always happy with my M9-P was always doubting to trade in for the M240 but I rather stayed with the Leica M9-P and now just bought myself the Sony A7S! All the best keep up the good work!
Ah yes, the wonderful A7s…a camera that really makes its presence felt. I am glad that you have it, Milan! IT’s a great camera, and pairs well with the M9P/MM in my opinion.
Don’t agree, I refered to Ming Thein, Thorstons, and Kristian Dowling excellent comparison of the M240 and M9 as well as Steve’s. It took me a while and after using I am convinced the M240 is the best digital camera I have owned (M3 the best all round camera). The guys above did not seem to have a problem with the colour just learnt how to adjust, sorry Ashwin but those 4 guys have all come to the conclusion the M240 is a big improvement and they are 4 very good and respected photographers. With me I found the CCD sensor to be a mostly a one hit wonder wide open Bokeh shots, that’s all I was in the end using it for, using the M240 with Leica and Voigtlander lenses old and new I am astonished how good this camera is and would highly recommend it over a dated and old technology.
I would take the look and the rendering of the M9 over the high dynamic range of the M240 any day. There’s just something magical about the M9’s CCD combined with Leica lenses. It’s hard to explain in technical terms. It’s just…special. Especially when photographing people.
I think the biggest difference between the M9 and M240 is that so many users prefer Lightroom to programs that render M240 much better like Capture One and RAW Developer. In these programs you’ll find that the cooler M9 look returns, and the per pixel sharpness is evident as well.
Martin is right. The images converted using Capture One Pro have a great qualitative difference to the same ones converted using LR. The Colour Editor of the Capture One offers amazing flexibility for fine tuning the colours, the tints and the shades and this is a great advantage either for M9 or M 240. In addition the HDR tool of the Capture One allows a nearly perfect dynamic adjustment without any banding problems whatsoever. It is worth it a try.
Oh, I wish I had tried capture one..Unfortunately, I am so tied into LR, with hundreds of thousands of images there, that switching work flow represents a challenge to me that I am sure Adobe appreciates 🙂
Hey Mr. Rao, I completely agree with you! I had a M9 before, sold it, and bought a M 240 about a year ago. I was reading a lot about the camera in different blogs and ended up thinking that this new beast is definetely better than the M9. It is a very good camera!- if you don´t know the M9! After one year of shooting, telling myself it must be good, I have to say that the magic the M9 had, is gone with the M. I never really got warm with her. She is very convenient in many ways for sure, but the look and rendering of the pictures is completely something else. It doesn´t look like Leica, it looks like a different camera brand. The M 240 looks kind of Canon or Nikon at first sight.
Sometimes it´s hard to stay with something that´s already very good, and NOT listening to camera industries, who are always telling you that the next upgrade, no matter if cameramodel or software is an improvement. That might be correct in about 30%, and as a professional photographer I can tell stories about it.
So, my new used M9 is supposed to be delivered tomorrow.
Well, Mr. Rao, maybe Leica, just like myself and many others, share your point of view as they have kept a ccd offering in both their M and S series while introducing new cmos cameras…
By the way, I suggest, if I may, that all those who prefer the ccd look and are afraid to see it disappear should visit Mr Peter Prosopho’s site and sign his Letter to Leica, an initiative that deserves your support.
After the Mono and the Edition 60, you never know what Leica could come up with. Who knows, it could be a new and improved ccd M!
Agreed. Peter’s site is amazing, and he makes the most convincing arguments for the CCD sensor through his amazing images.
I came to the same conclusion in 2013, so my M9 and M9-P is still with me. I did buy a Sony A7r with a FE 55mm lens, and IMO, the pictures with this Sony combo is better than the M240.
I think it is not. Give your photos a second better look and you will probably agree. Sony A7r is somehow overestimated for its high resolution, but overall I do not think that it is better than the Leica, although it handles highlights better and its viewfinder and metering system is very good. One thing is for sure. It cannot perform with any M lens wider than 35, its Sonnar is too sterile, and if you really wish to stick with it better try the Leica R lenses. All of them perform exceptionally on the A7r.
I have an adapter for the A7r with my Leica R glass (28mm, 50mm, 105mm(APO Macro) and 135mm), they work great, but the 105mm and the 135mm is too heavy for the A7r, the balance is way off. However, I have compared IQ with the M240 and a 75mm ASPH (M mount) Summicron, against my A7r and a FE 55mm, and I am convinced that this Sony setup is superior to the Leica setup, even my friend who owns the Leica setup agrees.
Perfect timing. I’ve been debating on getting the M240 or a Monochrom to compliment my M9. Your experience echoes my fears… Especially the ski tone issue. Now the decision will be between a nice used Monochrom or a 120 for my S2. As it might be my last major purchase before retirement, I want to get it right.
I think you better buy a 120 for your S2, along with a Hasselblad V adapter. It might prove very usefull in the future. Monochrom is intended for the B&W aficionados. If you are not one of them stick with the S2. There is no way to compare the capabilities and the quality of the S2 to any other 135 format digital camera at native ISO either it is a Leica or not.
Good Evening Ashwin!
Interesting reading – especially as I’m a former M9 user too who moved over to the M240. I’ve to say I did not regret it…the pro’s – better high iso, longer battery life, having a screen you can actually use are too strong arguments for me to stay with the M240. As according WB – Leica never seems to get that right…don’t know why.
If I compare to my NIKON SLR or even my Sony RX100 – Leica WB seems often to be lightyears away…but by always shooting RAW I can live with that.
I always say a good camera doesn’t become a bad camera, even if something better(?) comes along. (Just think of the Digilux 2!) I’m really grateful for your article, because I think I might well enjoy just the things you point out about the M9. Would your comments on CCD image-style apply to the M-E ? – Because its one or two lacking features in relation to the M9 wouldn’t worry me, and it just might make the difference between buying new and second-hand. (If you can spare a moment to comment , I’d be very grateful.)
The M-E is effectively an M9 – have a look at Ken Rockwell’s website for more detail.
May I answer myself? Both cameras are intrinsically identical and will take pictures in the very same way. I recommend you to go for the modern classic an get the original M9 though.
Great write up Ashwin.
What this write up really needed was side by side tests with the same workflow implemented.
For me, it’s about the usability and end image. I can easily disregard all else (bulk, weight, shutter sound).
I love my M9 but hate having to put it away after IS0 640 or converting to B&W to hide the noise.
Still buying the 240 tomorrow.
Thank you for posting!
I’m behind you in your opinion that the M9 gives that ‘Leica look’ or the 3D quality – which was the reason I dove into a Nocti with my M9. My GAS is dead – because I love that combo.
Friends and relatives love my pictures, and I see no reason to upgrade to the M240.
I have a feeling that M9 users who stick with the ‘old’ technology are an interesting, like-minded club.
I have an M3 that I cherish – just think how long the M3 was ‘current’ . . .
Thanks for putting a voice out there for us. Cheers and all the best.
p.s. Ashwin, if you don’t mind, what limitations do you find with the 12mp Sony A7s?
He has a couple reviews on the A7s on steve’s site that you can refer to
the fact that it’s 12mp…
To me, that’s the primary “limitation” if you are used to a 24-36 mp file. I am used to the 18 mp of the M9, so it’s not a huge differenc,e though is noticeable a bit…beyond that, the A7s does very well with most M lenses…and better in some cases with certain lenses, particularly very shallow DOF lenses….
Nice write up Ashwin. What kept me away from getting an M-240 is the increase in bulk compared to the M9, which itself feels too bulky compared to my M3.
One feature that the M-240 has which is much better than my M-E is shutter feel and sound. The shutter action is not smooth on the M-E/M9 and the sound is, well, unique..
M-E just what I was thinking reading Ashwin’s post ! The current, CCD-based Leica M camera. Often overlooked it is what I recommend to friends who want to try the Leica/rangefinder experience, together with a Summicron 50mm lens.
I must say I love the shutter sound of the M9 myself. Much more rewarding and satisfying than the clatter that goes off inside my canon.
Personal preference I suppose.
Glad someone brought up the M-E too! Have never been able to afford a Leica but I’d be buying an M-E in a heartbeat if I wanted a CCD family of cameras. It is true that through software and many many Sony made CMOS chips out there there’s a lot of overlapping “looks” from different camera brands. The CCD sensors out there although dated and few with a good pixel count DO look crisper and more bitey.
I have mulled over upgrading to the M240 from my M9 now for 2 years having handled it at Photokina 2012 but had a few reservations then… but I still enjoy my M9 so much and the images still give me a buzz compared to my other cameras … the M9 has limitations for sure …. but the images are different and have a certain wow effect … I am staying put .. M9 is a keeper … thanks for the interesting and informative article …
Having replaced my M8 with an M9-P, when the 240 came out soon after again, I thought, here we go, there will be another come along soon. Poor availability, poor video, doggy white balance, Canon / Nikon CMOS colours, I though it has to be replaced. I am very pleased I waited, in fact I invested in a Summilux 35mm FLE instead, to go with the M9-P!
I bought into Leica for the simplicity of the rangefinder and quality of the glass (inc Zeiss and Konica – which I had already fallen in love with on my KM-Sony DSLRs).
The screen is rubbish as you say, but the M9 images are superb. When shooting film I use 100-400 ISO and have no screen – so its a constraint I can live with. I did try a Sony A7R as a cheeper alternative to the 240 and loved the feel, but it was slow to use compared with the rengefinder M and the density of pixels and shutter slap makes it virtually impossible to use without fringing the detail.
The M240 has video (why!) and more bulk and like you, I prefer the M9 palette anyway. The A7s perhaps can fill the very high ISO / video gaps (or maybe even an A7 – I don’t know), if you need them filled.
For what the Leica M film camera experience was all about, The M9 is still the definitive digital edition. It is a camera you can love and love telling stories with… for a vey long time to come.
Well stated, David. I too try to keep ISO at 400 or less to maximize the M9’s capacity.
Good article, I have stayed with my M9 as I was not comfortebel with colors with “new” M240
I have zero color issues with my M 240. I shoot everything jpeg. The jpeg on the M 9 was dreadful.
Jpegs coming out of the M 240 require hardly any tweeking.
As far as white balance, I wonder if he ever used the feature on the 240 that allows one to adjust color for the lighting condition. I used it, take a picture and the color is dead-on accurate.
The M 9 has that dreadful, poor excuse of a rear LCD. Why Leica still uses it on the ME and the Monochrom is a mystery. The screen is so awful that all it’s good for is menu settings. To spend that kind of money and get an el cheapo LCD makes one wonder just what engineers at Leica are thinking.
That said, the screen on my Sony RX1R is better than the screen on the 240. Leica still needs to improve it, especially on a camera now costing over seven grand.
The M 240 has better color than the M 9, is more light sensitive and has an improved menu.
For me there’s no going back.
I came to the same conclusion 2013, after using my friend’s M240, I was not impressed, so I stayed with my M9. I did however purchased a Sony A7r with a FE-55mm 1.8 lens, and while this Sony suffers from shutter vibration, I have worked around this issue by using shutter priority (1/200) with auto ISO (limit 6400), and it has been a blast, the pictures are crisp, good white balance and has a great 3D pop, it just does not feel as well constructed as the M9, but then, it is $4000 cheaper.
M9 is still a very relevant camera to me. I can’t say that I haven’t been tempted by other newer cameras, but none has been successful 🙂
I dont have much experience with the 240, but I sure do love the M9 and have no plans on “upgrading” to the 240
Ashwin I am with you. Partly. I own the M240 and have been using it for a year. I was surprised about the start-up lag and was even more surprised that no one else mentioned that. I went to a 95mb/sec card which improved it a bit but still too long. The button structure and UI is confusing. While I like live-view it sometimes drives me nuts when it delays the shooting time. I wish Leica would give priority to a pushed shutter button and not wait for live-view to come up or shut down. I still have a M9P because I am still not fully sold on the M240. There are many reasons for the M240. The low light performance, especially when converted to B&W is great, battery life, etc. But the feel, the interaction, the amount of buttons, etc are slightly off. It has elements that make it feel more like a computer than a camera. The image quality is good, often better than the M9 files but in some cases the M9 files just look crisper. I am still using the M240 90% of the time because it is more versatile but going back to the M9 often feels great. Smaller, faster, simpler. Things that are so important for an M. Holding it feels almost like going from a M9 back to an M6. D!RK
All great points, Dirk. I agree that there’s just a different look the M9 vs M240 files. I think I have gotten used to the M9 “crispness”, which is a good way to put it, but yet, the 240 has better DR by quite a bit. Ultimately, I hope that technology brings digital M handling back closer to film M’s…Simplicty is key. I really wish they made a M60 (preferably with a monochrom sensor). I think that’d be perfect for me.
LOL! Equal opportunity basher. Much respect for your including that in your article. Read with great interest as I plan to buy a 240 tomorrow.
Best of luck. Neither camera is perfect, but both are fantastic…
Seems like just about any good modern camera could do the same images, while also offering more versatility for a lot less money.
But if this is what makes you happy, ok.
Well, there are only 4 options for a digital rangefinder: the Epson RD-1, Leica M8, Leica M9, and Leica M….any one of those would make me happy, but this has entirely to do with the experience of shooting rangefinders. But you are right, there are far many more cameras with far more versatility…ultimately, we choose what cameras inspire us. For me, the RF cameras, Ricoh GR, and Sony A7s…
you have paid a lot but … you have only talking about cameras not pictures…there is no interesting picture here, sorry…
Man, I really wish there was a way to block negative comments posted by people who don’t share their own work. I say, Put up or shut up. I can take and read negative criticism all day long from actual photographers that have the courage to put their own stuff out there and welcome the same type of criticism.
Ashwin, I think these are great, and very interesting photos. Never mind the peanut gallery.
you are ass licking!
Haluk lets see some images!
Haluk, thanks the the informed and eloquent response. Your perpsective is clear.
I think you need to show us all your ‘interesting’ pictures; these by Ashwin are fabulous and you seem to just be happy to criticise – if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything…..easy to remember.
Not sure how long you’ve been on this site, Ash has contributed a huge amount of photos over the years along with camera reviews. This article title, if you’ve read it, is comparing cameras.
To say “there is no interesting picture” is an insult.
You may say: “these kind of pictures are not my taste” or “I do not like the way you process your pictures in Adobe Lightroom” and let me say, these comments would be “not of interest to anyone”
Thank you so much for your story.
I think you are right: the CCD has an unique charm, and we can only hope that the M-E and the MM will stay available for some time, so that we will also get repairs of our trusted M9s, when required…
BTW: It is so sad that we live now in a “Dark Age” of digitalism, and I understand everyone who turns back to film photography, just to be sure that his favorite instruments will keep working in the future…
Ashwin, after reading your article carefully and taking all of your reasons into account, I can only conclude that you, like all CCD enthusiasts, are a monster.
I kid, I kid, This piece functions as a good reminder that the latest and greatest tech isn’t automatically superior, and that different shooters will have different needs. And as always, your images are a treat, regardless of the camera you’re using.
Love the comment 🙂 Thanks so much!
Ash, fair comment on your preferences of CCD vs CMOS, but looking through your pictures you used in this article, I personally find that many would improve if you would stop your lenses down a bit. There’s rarely a picture that couldn’t benefit from more DOF. Photography is not about shooting open, or shooting CCD vs CMSO, it’s about capturing a moment in time. The baseball team picture is one of those pictures that just cries for more DOF. Just my two cents.
Very interesting read I also didn’t like the colour on the new Leica compared to the older M9 which as you say has better micro contrast which seems to make some of your photo’s look 3D and opted to go black and white only with the M Monochrom which I love and for colour have recently just purchased a new Leica T which I find is similar to what you are saying regarding the M240 it gives a warmer rendering not that its bad just different. The thing I like about the Leica T is its size and simplicity of operation mind you that camera also has its quirks. Thanks for posting.
I still use my M9P and MM for the same reason. Many times I wanted to make the switch to the M240. But every time there was something in my head telling me not to do it.
Finally, a few weeks ago I put my camera’s for sale on the web. I finaly made my decision.
But every time I opened Lightroom and I saw some pics I made with the M9P and MM … (oh oh oh )
A few days later I took my camera’s from the web again because I have a special connection with them.
To other photographers I never could not really explain what I feel using my M9P and developing it’s files.
But now I don’t have to do this anymore because your article just describes why I love the files from my camera’s and why I still live with the limitations of them.
Great article and it makes me happy to see that I’m not alone 🙂
Also Peter Prosophos has great articles on the M240 vs M9
Thanks, Ernie. I am surprised – in a positive way – that so many have come to similar conclusions
I’m have to admit that GAS can be a curse (at its worse), and a way to be current (at its best). These examples are wonderful images in their own right, absent of whatever camera took them (IMO).
The struggles we have with the way we see our images is an ever-changing dynamic. As a viewer looking at these images, I don’t see what it is you see as the photographer. I see what I see as a “viewer”.
You, of course, have to travel your own path. And, it’s led you back to the M9. Congrats in finding what it is you’ve been looking for all along.
Great comment, Kenneth, and thanks for the kind words. I concur totally and yes, sometimes one realizes that what one had all along was the best fit…it took me buying the M240 to find this out…A costly, yet ultimately worthwhile experiment.
You’re going to bump up the price of second hand M9s 😉
And push down the price of second hand M240’s
Since I’ve never owned the 240, I certainly can’t comment on a comparison, but buying a used camera for thousands of dollars is scary business.
I recently bought a used M9 and found myself returning it rather quickly because of some known issues/problems, and the realization that buying a used piece of gear for $3500+ with no warranty is a very risky proposition. Thank goodness I bought from someone with a good reputation who was willing to give me a refund.
The problem now is that though there may be CCD magic in an M9, the Sony A7 is a full-frame camera with more modern options, and those are options I’ve come to appreciate The M9, by comparison just feels woah-fully inadequate, MOSTLY for the fact it’s 3x the price on a used market with no warranty. While I agree there is something special to the CCD sensor of the M8 and M9, I still also believe most of the magic comes from the lenses, so I’ve now chosen the Sony with an M-adaptor (and full warranty) for that exact reason. Even the Fujis do a fine job of rendering some awesome files when combined with M-Glass, but I don’t hide the fact I’m a Fuji fan-girl 🙂
Don’t get me wrong… I believe in the Leica (CCD) magic. I always have. And if you want a rangefinder, it’s the only option in the digital world. However, personally, I just didn’t feel as charmed by it all this time around as I did when I first bought the M8 years and years ago.
Hi Amy. I agree that most cameras do a great job now, and a wide variety of price points are available. I loved my time with the Fuji XT-1. It was a remarkable camera, and remains one of the best sellers, because Fuji seems to get it better than most….
Very interesting and thought provoking post. I have read that a lot of knowledgeable people have said similar things about the benefits of ccd sensors. Some time ago I did a workshop with a pro photographer who loves his ccd digital back and says he is in no hurry to replace it with the new cmos option -and his comments mirror yours – though he is not talking about Leica. He says he will use his till it self destructs and yes he can afford the new cmos digital back !
The crazy thing here is that we are been driven down the path of so called progress where that progress may be more debatable than we at first sight realise .Marketing and review sites ( not this one ) are so keen to make small issues into massive issues. To me the look of the image is everything and I will forego almost everything for that look -but not everybody thinks like me.
I used to work in the technology sector and have seen wonderful progress but sometimes the new better product can lack an all important and unique aspect of what it replaced -unfortunately a generation of hardware is replaced and is never seen again.
Interesting to hear other peoples views ?
Fergus, yes I have heard this often in the automotive industry as well. The classic, replaced by something less classic. The 240 is a solid camera in its own right, though I wish that Leica had refined the classic…
Ashwin,I completely agree with you! I shoot with Leica M9 for almost 4 years and than sold that for M240 but regret later.I think that M240 is not worth the money.Again,it’s my opinion.
Peter Prosophos (featured on Steve Huff many times) http://photographsbypeter.com/ will love this article!
Yes indeed Mateo, for what it’s worth, I approve 😉
Ashwin, I applaud your honesty. And, as always, you’ve penned a thoughtful and thought-provoking article…. with nice images – regardless of sensor.
Out of respect for Steve’s site, I won’t link to it, but if you Google “Open Letter to Leica” you’ll find a letter of mine written a year ago that is signed by over 290 photographers… a letter requesting for the return of an updated CCD sensor in a future M body.
You surely have a good sense of timing!
I have had an M240 since it came out. I have taken thousands of pictures with it. I kept my M9, which I treasured. I never use the M9 anymore. The M240 is superior in every way. Sorry to disagree, but each and every one of the negatives you call out I do not see. You don’t like the color balance? Set it manually. You have trouble with the menus? You have to be kidding.
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, of course, and you shoot a lot and write a lot, but I think that another quick, experienced perspective is in order.
I love M240 and it gives me exactly as image what I visualize it. It is perfect. It full fills my image needs.
I have no experience of the M9. But earlier this year I had purchased an M240. Leica offered me a specific SD card. All M240s I had tried within 200 shots had one certain problem they quit working totally freezed. I had to take the battery out and reinsert it to make the camera operable. It is interesting that this issue has been documented by Leica for the M9. Also, Leica puts the blame on the card. They surely are extremely incompetent that they can not prevent such an error.
In addition nearly each M camera had some kind of different issue. As an electronic device is the worst device I have ever purchased. When it works the images are just breathtaking, the experience, the feel is phenomenal; except when it does not work.
So my question is how come you all people never mention issues? Are you shy?
On the contrary my E-M1 works and works and works. It is not free of issues it does not even come close to image quality, feel and user experience but works. I wonder if Leica would have made such a camera the cost would have been astronomical.
I have no freeze issues with my M 240. And the shutter count is now over 2,000.
In fact, no problems to speak of.
Maybe I’m lucky.
I feel that the M9 froze more than the M240. The M240 did so once or twice in the entire time I owned it, and I switched memory cards and never had another issue
M240 does not have a shutter count.
Kind of agree (as a guy in a similar position who’s used the M9 since 2010 and still own it and also a 240 for the past year and a half). I hardly ever use the M9 anymore. I do like its saturated and contrasty rendering granted, but i don’t find it hard to reproduce that look with the M240. Indeed I loved Ashwin’s images here taken with the 240 – so I think Ashwin, you’re missing a point – you did very well with it 🙂
For me the biggest improvements with the 240 are to do with much lower shutter lag and a much better buffer on the 240, I missed so many shots with the M9 cos of the terrible shutter and awful buffer… Just for that I’d take the 240 over the M9, CCD rendering doesn’t help ya when you miss the shot. Also as Steve wrote in his original review the M240 files are way richer and colour transitions and gradations are much better.
I do agree with Ashwin’s point re size and weight – M240 is way too big – really missing the size of the film MP/M6 Classic. Leica – hope you do something about it Leica!!!
Otherwise I love both (and my MM) and finding it hard to sell any of them even though they cost me so much and I could use the money. Can’t shoot anymore with anything else. and PS to all you Sony A7 lovers out there – I can’t stand these things, slow, gadgety and just blah.
Anyway keep shooting and sharing those great photos Ashwin, your images are great regardless of what you use to capture them!
Well I think it is a common thing. When you buy new tec. The old one normally starts to gether dust in the closset. .
Right now I’m in the stage. where I at the age of 49 are considering buying my first Leica camera. So I very much doubt whether I should buy a M9 (available a bit cheaper) or whether I should just go for a new M model, then I just sell the kidney!
No doubt we can agree that before the M model came out, the M9 was a great camera, good and evil. It’s not suddenly become a bad camera, because there’s a new model? I am originally Canon man, I can see the same trend there! when there is something new, major ancient suddenly, what was good yesterday is terrible today! My point is. Do I get a much better user experience with the new M, so mutch that it justifies the extra cost. when I need to start from scratch. New lenses etc?
Kind regards, and thank’s to Steve for the great work.