Leica M9

Leica M9

The Leica M9 is set to be announced on Wednesday, September 9, 2009; however, a tipster sent a very official-looking brochure for the Leica M series (including the M9) to me today.  The Leica M9 brochure reveals that the new camera packs an 18-megapixel, full frame 24 x 36mm CCD sensor.

The new CCD sensor appears to be a totally redesigned sensor, which uses a special layout of micro lenses to assure “uniform exposure and extreme sharpness from corner to corner in every image.”  Additionally, the sensor is couple with a new filter to suppress infrared light; however, the a moiré filter was not included due to concerns of “image deterioration through loss of resolution” and the need to ensure maximum resolution of fine detail.  Sensitivity range covers ISO 80-2500.

Leica M9

As you can see from the images, the Leica M9 offers a 4-way switch and dial on the rear, along with a 2.5-inch LCD screen.

In an interesting move, the Lecia M9 is supplied with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom as its RAW processing software.  Purchasers of the Leica M9 can download the software for free.  For its RAW format, the Leica M9 uses Adobe’s DNG standard.  Speaking with Leica representatives at PMA 2009 about the Lecia S2, I was told that this decision was a natural fit due to Leica’s in-house software development limitations.  Using a universal standard gives Leica the ability to focus on hardware.  The Leica M9 produces 16-bit DNG files for maximum quality.

No word on price yet; however, you shouldn’t expect to find the Leica M9 at a discount price in your local Best Buy anytime soon.  If you want all the details on this potential game-changer from Germany, get the complete specifications along with a couple of additional photos below.

Leica M9

Leica M9

Leica M9 Full Specifications

Camera type

Compact digital view and rangefinder system camera.

Lens attachment

Leica M bayonet with additional sensor for 6-bit coding.

Lens system

Leica M lenses from 16 to 135 mm.

Picture format/Image sensor

5270 x 3516 pixels (18.5 Megapixel) CCD chip, active area approx. 23.9 x 35.8 mm 5212 x 3472 pixels (18 Megapixel) (corresponding to usable format of analog Leica M models).


Adjustable, DNG™: 5212 x 3472 pixels (18 Megapixel), JPEG: 5212 x 3472 (18 Megapixel), 3840 x 2592 (10 Megapixel), 2592 x 1728 (4,5 Megapixel), 1728 x 1152 (2 Megapixel), 1280 x 846 pixels (1 Megapixel).

Data formats

DNG™ (raw data), choice of uncompressed or slightly compressed (by non-linear reduction of color depth), 2 JPEG compression levels.

File size

DNG: 18 MB (compressed)/36 MB (uncompressed), JPEG: approx. 2–10 MB.

Color spaces

Adobe® RGB, sRGB.

White balance

Automatic, manual, 7 presets, color temperature selection.

Storage medium

SD cards up to 2GB/SDHC cards up to 32GB.

Menu languages

German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Russian.


Windows® XP/Vista®; Mac® OS X (10.5).

Exposure metering

Exposure metering through the lens (TTL), center-weighted with working aperture. Center-weighted TTL metering for flash exposure with system-compatible SCA-3000/2 standard flash units.

Measurement principle

Measured by light reflected by bright shutter blades on the first shutter curtain.

Metering range

(at ISO 160/23°) At room temperature and normal humidity corresponds to EV 0 to 20 or f/1.0 and 1.2 s to f/32 and 1/1000s. Flashing left triangular LED in viewfinder indicates values below metering range.

Measurement cell for available light

(continuous light measurement) Silicon photo diode with condensing lens, positioned in the bottom center of the camera base.

Sensitivity range

ISO 80/19° to ISO 2500/35°, adjustable in 1/3 ISO increments, with aperture priority A and manual exposure setting, choice of automatic control or manual setting, automatic control with snapshot profile.

Exposure mode

Choice of automatic shutter speed control with manual aperture selection – aperture priority A – with corresponding digital display, or manual setting of shutter speed and aperture and adjustment using LED light balance with indication of correct exposure, or risk of overexposure/camera shake (with snapshot profile only).

Flash exposure control

Flash unit connection

Via accessory shoe with center and control contacts.


Optional synchronization on first or second shutter curtain.

Flash sync speed

= 1/180 s; longer shutter speeds possible.

Flash exposure metering

(with SCA-3501/3502 adapter or SCA-3000 standard flash unit, e.g. Leica SF 24D/Leica SF 58). Control with centerweighted TTL-pre-flash metering.

Flash measurement cell

2 silicon photo diodes with condensing lens in camera base.

Flash exposure compensation

±3 1/3 EV in 1/3 EV steps adjustable on the SCA-3501/3502 adapter. On Leica SF 24D, ±3 EV in 1/3 EV- steps with computer control, or from 0 to –3 EV in 1 EV-steps/on Leica SF 58 adjustable in all modes ±3 EV in 1/3 EV-steps.

Displays in flash mode

Flash readiness: flash symbol LED in viewfinder constant. Correct flash exposure: LED constant or flashes rapidly after exposure. Underexposure: LED extinguished after exposure.


Viewfinder principle

Large, bright-line frame viewfinder with automatic parallax compensation.


Adjusted to -0.5 dpt. Correction lenses from -3 to +3 dpt. available.

Image framing

By activating two bright-line frames: For 35 and 135 mm, 28 and 90 mm, or for 50 and 75 mm. Automatic activation when lens is attached. Any pair of bright-line frames can be activated using the image field selector.

Parallax compensation

The horizontal and vertical difference between the viewfinder and the lens is automatically compensated according to the relevant distance setting, i.e. the viewfinder bright-line automatically aligns with the subject detail recorded by the lens.

Matching of viewfinder and actual picture

The size of the bright-line frame corresponds exactly to the sensor size of approx. 23.9 x 35.8 mm at a setting distance of 1 meter. At infinity setting, depending on the focal length, approx. 7.3 % (28 mm) to 18 % (135 mm) more is recorded by the sensor than indicated by the corresponding bright-line frame and slightly less for distances shorter than 1m.


(for all lenses) 0.68x.

Large basis rangefinder

Split or superimposed image range finder shown as a bright field in the center of the viewfinder image.

Effective rangefinderbase

47.1 mm (actual rangefinder base 69.25 mm x viewfinder enlargement 0.68x).



(lower edge) LED symbol for flash status. Four-digit seven-segment digital display with dots above and below, display brightness adjusted for ambient brightness, for: Warning of exposure compensation, display for automatically generated shutter speeds in aperture priority mode, indication of use of metering memory lock, warning that the metering or setting ranges are over- or underexposed using aperture priority and counting down exposures longer than 2s.

LED light balance with two triangular and one central circular LED for manual exposure setting. The triangular LEDs give the direction of rotation of the aperture setting ring and shutter speed setting dial to adjust the exposure. Also as warning for over- or underexposure.

On rear panel

2,5” monitor (color TFT LCD) with 230,000 pixels.

Shutter and release


Microprocessor-controlled, exceptionally low-noise metal blade shutter with vertical movement.

Shutter speeds

For aperture priority (A) continuously adjustable from 32 s to 1/4000 s. For manual setting 8 s to 1/4000 s in half steps, B for long exposures of any duration (in conjunction with self timer T function, i. e. 1st release = shutter opens, 2nd release = shutter closes), (1/180 s) fastest shutter speed for flash synchronization.

Shutter cocking

Using low-noise integral motor, optionally after releasing the shutter release button.

Series exposures

Approx. 2 pictures/s, ≤ 8 pictures in series.

Shutter release

Three levels: Exposure metering on – Metering memory lock (in aperture priority mode) – Shutter release. Integrated standard cable release thread.

Self timer

Delay optionally 2 (aperture priority and manual exposure setting) or 12 s (menu setting), indicated by flashing LED on front of camera and corresponding display on the monitor.

Switching the camera on/off

Using the main switch on the camera’s top panel, selectable automatic power-off for camera electronics after about 2/5/10 minutes, reactivation by pressing the shutter release button.

Power supply

1 lithium ion battery, nominal voltage 3.7 V, capacity 1900 mAh. Capacity display in monitor, when shutter held open (for sensor cleaning) additional acoustic warning when capacity is low.


Inputs: 100–240 V AC, 50/60Hz, automatic switching, or 12/24 V DC; Output: 4.2V DC, 800 mA.

Camera housing


All-metal die cast magnesium body, KTL dip painted, synthetic leather covering. Top deck and baseplate in brass, black, or steel-grey paint finish.

Image field selector

Allows the bright-line pairs to be manually displayed at any time (e. g. for framing comparisons).

Tripod thread

Stainless steel, A 1/4 (1/4’’) DIN, in baseplate.

Operating conditions

0 to +40°C


5-pin mini-USB 2.0 High-Speed socket for fast data transfer.


(Width x Depth x Height) approx. 139 x 37 x 80 mm (5 1/2 x 11/2 x 3 1/6 in.).


585 g (19.8 oz) (with battery).

Included extras

Charger 100–240 V with 2 mains cables (EU, USA, different in some export markets) and 1 car charger, lithium ion battery, USB cable, carrying strap.

*Subject to changes in design, manufacture, and scope.