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Leica M9-P and f/0.95 Noctilux-M Hands On Preview

Leica M9-P 18 megapixel full frame Digital Rangefinder and Leica f/0.95 Noctilux-M 50mm ASPH Hands On Preview.

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Noctilux f/0.95

Leica M9-P with Noctilux 0.95
Leica M9-P with Leica Noctilux-M f/0.95

At a recent Leica event I was able to have a hands on look at the new Leica M9-P, a subtle update to the Leica M9. We had a look at it with the Leica Noctilux-M f/0.95 50mm Asph. lens. Both highly desirable items, with the new M9-P costing £5699, and the Leica Noctilux-M f/0.95 50mm lens available for £7199.

Leica M9-P Features

  • 18 megapixel full frame CCD sensor
  • 2.5 inch screen, with sapphire crystal coating
  • ISO160 to ISO2500
  • Leica M lenses from 16 to 135mm
  • 6-bit lens coding system
  • Full metal housing made from magnesium alloy
  • Top and bottom plates machines from blocks of solid brass
  • Available in silver chrome, or in black paint
  • Vulcanite (Synthetic) Leather Covering
  • Adobe DNG RAW and JPEG Shooting

Leica M9-P Top

Shutter speed is set on top, aperture on lens, and focusing checked with the optical viewfinder.

Leica M9-P Back Leica M9-P
Leica M9-P Back Leica Summicron 35mm f/2

Leica M9-P Handling

The camera has great ergonomics, with manual controls you can set the aperture, shutter speed, and not have to confirm the settings are correct by looking at the menus or screen, the information is available right in front of you whether the camera is on or off. The build quality is extremely solid with a metal body and brass top and bottom plates, as well as a leather like cover, it feels very well made. Menus give access to all the settings in one long menu, so that you scroll through them till you get to the options you want. Thankfully you should very rarely need to access them, as you can change most settings using the external controls.

Lens focusing is extremely pleasant with the finger grip on the Leica Summicron 35mm f/2 lens, shown above, making it very easy to focus quickly.

The camera has an instant shutter response, thanks to manual focus, aperture and shutter speeds, you just press the button and the instant you press, it takes the photo. This makes the camera ideal for capturing the moment, and with an extremely quiet shutter it is ideal for street photography.

Leica Noctilux-M f/0.95 50mm ASPH Lens

The Leica Noctilux-M f/0.95 50mm ASPH lens is available from around £7199 including VAT, this is the world's fastest aspherical lens, and makes the £5699 price of the Leica M9-P seem good value for money.

Noctilux 0.95 Leica M9-P with Noctilux 0.95
Noctilux f/0.95 Leica M9-P with Noctilux f/0.95
Leica M9-P with Noctilux 0.95 Leica M9-P with Noctilux 0.95
Leica M9-P with Noctilux f/0.95 Leica M9-P with Noctilux f/0.95

It's a weighty lens with an extremely solid construction and built in extendable lens hood. The manual focus ring is firm and to focus on close subjects, as shown above, it almost seemed easier to move the camera rather than try and focus with the lens ring. The bokeh (out of focus areas) are simply stunning, with the left green "blob" a plant that is close to the camera, on the inner window sill, and the darker pink flowers are in focus, with the street below out of focus.

Leica M9-P Performance

The image quality and performance of the Leica M9-P is the same as the Leica M9, and the camera has great image quality with low noise, and detailed images. The files are very clean and smooth, with very little processing happening in camera, which makes a refreshing change compared to some other cameras. This means that you have images than can be altered without showing up any artefacts. For our full report on the Leica M9's image quality and performance have a look at our Leica M9 review.

Leica M9-P Verdict

The Leica M9-P digital rangefinder is a more discreet, yet more expensive M9 with improved screen protection. Whether this will be of benefit to you or not will be entirely down to your use of the camera. If you are a street photographer where you simply can't risk drawing attention to yourself or the camera, then the removal of the bright red dot is probably of great benefit. Although a cheaper method could simply be to put black tape over the red dot on the Leica M9. Either way, the Leica M9-P and Leica M9 are both very high quality products, and very pleasing to use.

Leica M9-P Specifications

Image Sensor
Pixels18Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5270
Pixels (H)3516
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor SizeFull Frame
Sensor Size (width)23.9mm
Sensor Size (height)35.8mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor2.5in
Screen resolution230k
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing modes
  • Manual
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest32sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Manual
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • TTL
ISO sensitivity160 - 2500
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
Exposure Comp+/-3
Viewfinder ResolutionNo Data
MagnificationNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting2fps
Movie modeNo
Video Resolution
    Video FPSNo Data
    Stereo SoundNo Data
    Optical Zoom with VideoNo Data
    Other Features
    Image StabilisationNo
    USBUSB 2
    Wi-FiNo Data
    Card Type
    • SD
    • SDHC
    File Type
    • RAW
    • JPG
    • RAW + JPG
    Power Source
    Battery TypeLithium Ion
    Battery Life (CIPA rating)No Data
    Box Contents
    Box ContentsCharger 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.

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    Photographs taken using the Leica M9-P

    Rainy day in StranraerTaking flightSax ManA shoulder to lean on

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    It's the camera that we all ridicule, but secretly desire. A camera that is so tactile and well made, it makes the tanks of DSLR's too showy. And those lenses! Not many DSLR lenses come close. Yes the Canon EOS L primes are stunning! But they are big and hefty.
    Look at the Leica's......Small, sharp and delightful (the Noctilux being an exception - but you can't argue with f/0.95 on a 50mm, it will be big)
    The only lenses that hold a candle to the leica's are the Pentax FA Limiteds. The 31mm F1.8, 43mm F1.9 and 77mm F1.8 - Another set of small beautifully made lenses in the Leica tradition.
    It's a shame about Zuiko Olympus lenses (they went 4/3rds) and the Zeiss lenses, There were some small lenses in their inventory that could match Leica, but no more....

    Kudos to Leica. Yet again they produce a camera and lens range that we aspire to. They are not Sports cameras, they are not nature cameras, but what they do, they do perfectly.
    Now, anyone want to give me 30K for a leica setup? Wink

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