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Thread: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

  1. #1

    Default Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    I guess many have been waiting for this review, or rather, initial thoughts ....

    I wanted a few more days to iron out my thoughts, but I figured 'what a better way to start the week than a mini-review?'



    Ed9119 already started a review of the 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux with several CS members assisting in the initial thoughts and reviews. Please go here if you would like to see the Noctilux review: http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/threa...x-M-50mm-f0.95




    I won't be doing a 'review' of the Noctilux per se, but since the lens came with the M9-P, virtually all of my shots were taken with the Noctilux. The exception is a Summicron-M 28mm f/2 Asph. However, during that very short time when the camera came with the 28mm, it (the camera) was completely NEW to me, and I couldn’t familiarize myself with it so quickly. I will include a few shots taken with the 28mm though.

    Couple of Caveats - I am only sharing my initial thoughts, without any sort of pre-knowledge nor scientific tests and so on.


    This is as real as it gets ..... for someone who has never touched a Leica, never read the specs of the digital Leicas
    (nor it’s film counterparts), not experienced the famed rangefinder M-lenses.

    DOWN & DIRTY REAL WORLD TESTS!!!





    layout idea inspired by raytoei

  2. #2

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    The LEICA M9-P
    – A New Dimension in Digital Photography


    Concentrated on Essentials – Maximum Image Quality.



    24 x 36 - No Compromises
    The combination of an extremely high-resolution image sensor, the superior performance of M lenses, and sophisticated processing of the captured digital information ensures the best imaging results in all photographic situations. The 18-megapixel CCD image sensor, specifically designed and developed for this camera, enables the capture of the full 35-mm film format without any compromises. All M lenses mounted on the M9 or M9-P offer the same angle of view they had when using film material. This means that the high resolution and unique imaging quality of the now-digital M9 and M9-P are capable of fully exploiting the enormous potentials of M lenses. Or, in other words: in the case of the M9 and M9-P, it wasn't a matter of modifying the lenses to match the image sensor, but rather the other way around. This results in images particularly rich in details. Natural. Authentic. Without compromise.



    Intuitive Handling
    When it comes to handling, the Leica M9 - and now, the new M9-P, too - concentrate on essentials. It has even been possible to further improve the already simple menu navigation. The key control element is an intuitive four-way switch and dial combination used in conjunction with the 2.5" monitor. Setting the sensitivity requires only constant pressure on the ISO button while simultaneously turning the dial to select the required setting. All other functions important for everyday situations are quickly and easily accessible by pressing the "Set" button: these include white balance, image-data compression, resolution, exposure correction, exposure bracketing, and programmable user profiles. The user profiles can be programmed with any camera and shooting settings, stored under an arbitrary name, and accessed quickly whenever required for a particular situation.



    Compact, Built for a Lifetime, and Enduring in Value
    It is not rare for a Leica to become its owner's lifelong companion. This also applies to the digital Leica M9 and equally to the M9-P: despite the considerably larger sensor, it has been possible to maintain the compact body size of their predecessors, the Leica M8 and M8.2. With dimensions of only 139 x 37 x 80 mm, the Leica M9 and M9-P retain the ideal size of the M series and the unique honor of being the world's smallest full-format digital system cameras. The one-piece, full-metal housing, made from a high-tensile magnesium alloy, and a top deck and bottom plate machined from blocks of solid brass, provide perfect protection for their precious inner mechanisms. The digital components and shutter assembly of the M9 and the M9-P are similarly constructed with a lifetime of endurance in mind. Free updates ensure that the cameras' firmware always embraces the latest developments. In short: an M camera is not only an investment for life, but also a lifelong companion.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH





    Unobtrusive, Discreet, and Resilient: the New Leica M9-P

    The M9 now has a twin sister, the new Leica M9-P. In technological terms, they are absolutely identical twins and feature precisely the same high performance qualities. The only differences are found in a few characteristic details.

    The compact size of Leica M cameras, their unobtrusive looks, minimalist design, and the almost inaudible sound of their shutters make it possible for Leica M photographers to virtually melt into the background. The M9-P now makes photography even more unobtrusive - instead of the red dot on the front, it now bears a restrained Leica logogram on the top deck. And, in turn, is even more discreet.

    The Leica M9-P now features an extremely scratch-resistant, almost unbreakable, sapphire crystal cover for its LCD monitor display. Sapphire crystal is one of the world's hardest materials and so hard that it can only be worked with special diamond-cutting tools. The antireflective coating on both sides of the monitor cover glass further improves image reviewing, particularly in unfavorable lighting conditions.

    The Leica M9-P is optionally available in the classical Leica silver chrome camera finish or in black paint - the M9 offers two options, elegant steel gray or black paint. The Leica M9-P also features vulcanite leathering with particularly good grip characteristics.

    Information and photos courtesy of Leica. http://en.leica-camera.com/photography/m_system/m9/

  4. #4

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    LEICA M9/M9-P


    Technical data.

    Partial Specs (for full specs, please visit: http://en.leica-camera.com/photography/m_system/m9/ and click on ‘TECHNICAL DATA’ on the right):

    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).

    Resolution: Adjustable, DNG™: 5212 x 3472 (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.

    White balance: Automatic, manual, 7 presets, color temperature selection.

    Storage medium:
    SD cards up to 2 GB/SDHC cards up to 32 GB.

    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 fl ash units.

    Measurement principle: Measured by light reflected by bright shutter blades on the fi rst 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 1/1000 s. Flashing left triangular LED in viewfinder indicates values below metering range.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    Reality …

    As with any new digital camera, it takes us a few weeks to get intimately familiar with trying to optimize the camera.

    However, in the case of the M9-P, finding my way around the very intuitive menus took me about two hours, and later on, I’ll show you screen shots of the menu interfaces with my settings.

    I pretty much stuck with those settings through the four days (till now) that I had the M9-P with the only adjustments made to ISO and exposure compensation. That was all I needed.

    Learning and trying to focus the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH was an entirely different matter altogether. (http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/threa...x-M-50mm-f0.95)

    For the most part, I shot at f/0.95 for almost ALL my test shots, with the exception of going to f/1.4 – f/1.8 for a few shots as far as I can recall. I might have gone all the way to f/16 just to test the diffraction characteristics of the lens.

    Some shots have vignette added in post.

    While there is some vignetting at f/0.95, I have to admit that for the most part, it actually renders the photo in a way that seems almost ethereal.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    The Shots …

    Since the very recent Getai concerts were on very recently (some still are), I took the opportunity to go to my very first Getai concert. Thankfully, I managed to survive being right in front of the loudspeakers at the front of the stage most of the time since I only had a 50mm!

    Shots are mixed … some will be mainly B&W, and some color. I am not trying to tell a photo-essay.
















    Last edited by Dream Merchant; 15th August 2011 at 11:32 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH










    All shots above IIRC taken at f/0.95

    End of Getai Photos.



    Along the way, I'll post up some thoughts as well as more photos.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Dream Merchant; 15th August 2011 at 11:35 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    The Second Day …

    One of the things that struck me first, as I'm sure it did anyone else who handled the M9-P and the Noctilux, was that this was an engineering feat of the Highest Order – extreme precision, smoothness and pin-point accuracy.

    Perhaps this definition is more definitive and eloquent:

    precision engineering

    Definition:
    Research and development, design, manufacture and measurement of high accuracy components and systems. It is related to mechanical, electronic, optical and production engineering, physics, chemistry, and computer and materials science. (Source: ASPE)

    http://www.eionet.europa.eu/gemet/co...ngcode=en&ns=1


    If you think about it, The Leica M9-P and the Noctilux exemplifies the epitome of the definition above, in each and every conceivable manner from it's concept to final execution.

    How does this translate into real world advantages, besides the build-quality that would probably last several life-times?

    Y. Maitani, chief designer for Olympus, once said something to the effect of ‘The perfect camera is no camera’.

    I think he explained further that in order to realize the ‘vision’ of the mind’s eye, you need a camera that does not in any way impede the journey to realizing that vision. Of course, this is hazy as I am recalling memories of an interview which took place more than 39 years ago (the OM system was released in 1972), but the essence is similar.

    Does the M9-P exemplify a camera which comes close to being the almost zen-like ‘non-camera’? How much does it impose on the way a photographer does his work? Does it ‘disappear’ into the background to allow a photographer to more closely realize his mind’s ‘vision’?

    Over the next few posts or days, I hope to take you on that journey of discovery.




    Levitated Boy in Sunlight
    f/0.95
    Last edited by Dream Merchant; 17th August 2011 at 02:57 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    Sometimes, folks ask, 'What's your settings?"

    Needless to say, no two scenes nor circumstances can ever be exactly the same, and I doubt if using another photographer's settings would make your shot a technical success.

    Nonetheless, here are my settings. As mentioned earlier, I did not deviate from these, other than to adjust the ISO and EV.

    A lot more intuitive than some cameras that might have over a thousand or more settings.

    Please note the sharpness and contrast settings.

    Color Saturation: Medium Low
    Sharpening: Low
    Contrast: Medium Low


  10. #10
    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    thats a HCB moment if I ever saw one ...... with halo and backlighting some more !




    wow I'm stumped DM .... how'd you manage to do these screen captures ?!?!?
    Last edited by ed9119; 18th August 2011 at 09:20 AM.
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

  11. #11
    Senior Member sinned79's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    Quote Originally Posted by ed9119 View Post

    wow I'm stumped DM .... how'd you manage to do these screen captures ?!?!?
    use another camera to shoot then do a montage via photoshop? haha

  12. #12
    Member Kenneth67C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    Prefocus and shoot. The only main drawback is its manual focus, which kinda sucks for certain types of shots.
    An artist who realizes there is a supreme force and works gladly as an apprentice under heaven.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    sinned79 is right Ed.

    Kenneth67c - I did pre-focus, but had to re-focus for the shot of the boy. In some shots, there was simply no time, and I missed those shots. I had this combo for less than a week (never used a rangefinder for more than 30 years so very out of practice).

    Since we're still in the 7th month, I might as well share more shots, but this time, it was at a very elaborate series of tentage where there was an on-going puppet show for the 'brothers' (ghosts). Like Ed mentioned, street isn't sneaking around with a camera, even though you could do that, and some have done so very successfully, but take some time to get to know these people, and you might be rewarded with some great photos and many colorful stories!













    f/0.95, focused on the fly

    Last edited by Dream Merchant; 20th August 2011 at 04:36 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH















    Offerings in a field. Shot at sub-1000 ISO, 0.95.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    A camera such as a rangefinder, and especially paired with a very wide aperture lens is generally a very, very deliberate effort is one were to shoot at f/0.95 most of the time, or even f/1.4 - f/5.6. It's still deliberate.

    It really makes you stop ... and think. About composition. About exposure. But mostly about how you want to envision the shot, because at f/0.95, and very close to the minimum focusing distance of 1m, parallax error comes into play. Of course, one could also adjust the camera in bright daylight to f/16 with a high ISO and even shoot blindly, or from the hip, or take very quick 'grab' shots, as some very successful photographers have done in the past! A wider lens might be more suitable for that purpose.

    As promised, I am including the shots taken with a Summicron-M 28mm f/2 Apsh. Please remember, this was when I was totally unfamiliar with the camera, had difficulties focusing so I very roughly guesstimated distances and tried setting the lens to f/5.6 or f/8, which I found too slow. I could have increased the ISO to 2000, but was hesitant as there appeared to be a lot of noise on the LCD. Remember, unfamiliar with camera at that point. Totally.




    The Charmer!




    Another Charmer. Focused shot. Not sure of aperture. Probably f/2 - f/4.




    Boked Sausages. Focused on the sausages. f/2




    Focused shot. f/2 - f/4




    Leaving ...

  16. #16

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    So much has been written about the (largely mechanical) Leicas and their lenses that I am tempted to avoid going into that area.

    Just key in 'The mystique of Leica' in Google and tons of reverential, argumentative and different-sided opinions will show up.

    However, one of the things that did strike me, in the few days when I had the M9-P and the Noctilux, was how beautiful that combination 'feels'. Someone mentioned that it was the most perfect tool made in the 20th century, and I am akin to agree.

    It is, however, not everything to every photographer, and at such a price level, only you can decide whether that M9-P and the Noctilux is for you ... for whatever reason. I know of someone who has 3 of these beautiful little cameras (2 M9s and a M9-P with the Noctilux 0.95) and he still can't get enough!

    I guess (suspect actually), that more photographers here might use Leicas for Streets and Candids. Certainly, the form-factor and small, jewel-like lenses make them so inconspicuous that they literally 'disappear' into the background. I am really not sure how many use the small format Leicas for fashion, and while I am definitely not a P&P photographer, I decided to give the M9-P and Noctilux a go at some portrait work. Two separate sessions same afternoon. First one.














    It was a hot, and very humid afternoon. Most of my shots I had problems focusing on the eye at f/0.95. The above were slightly better.






    Have a GREAT TGIF ClubSnap!
    Last edited by Dream Merchant; 22nd August 2011 at 07:01 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    Recent Ramadan Pasar Malam Happenings!




    Focused on the fly at 0.95





    Surprised! Focused on the fly at 0/95.





    Sniper! Focused on the fly at 0/95.





    I've seen her many times, and every time, she looks better that before! Focused on the fly at 0.95.





    Mee Goreng! Focused on the fly at 0.95

  18. #18

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH



    The Beauty of a Duo-Toned Henna 'Tattoo' ... focused on the fly probably at 0.95 - 1.2





    And just before the almost instant 'drying' wash in water ... focused on the fly at 0.95






    OKI Balls anyone! Focused on the fly at 0.95






    Bandung Time focused on the fly at 0.95

  19. #19

    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH



    At the end of a tiring day ... Boked Kitty at 0.95 ... focused on the fly!

    Good Nite CS!

  20. #20
    Member Kenneth67C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leica M9-P Review / Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    I am really not sure how many use the small format Leicas for fashion, and while I am definitely not a P&P photographer, I decided to give the M9-P and Noctilux a go at some portrait work. Two seperate sessions same afternoon. First one.














    It was a hot, and very humid afternoon. Most of my shots I had problems focusing on the eye at f/0.95. The above were slightly better.
    Have a GREAT TGIF ClubSnap!
    This was the kind of "glow" I was referring to with the Noc lens. My question is: is this only achievable with this lens, or did you do some PS to get this effect?
    An artist who realizes there is a supreme force and works gladly as an apprentice under heaven.

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