Leica M9 vs m4/3 cameras?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Herb, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Herb

    Herb Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 16, 2011
    A friend has an M9. I have had M6 and now have a Zeiss Ikon ZM, which I find easier to use than a Leica, but the M9 was a puzzle. Heavy as hell and not particularly user friendly.

    Anybody ever do a comparison of quality of images between a full frame and m4/3? It would be interesting. I am NOT saying a $7000 camera is equal to a $700 camera, but for my friend, they probably are.
    But 16MP on a m4/3 and 18MP on the M9, obviously the pixels are larger on the M9, but it would be of interest to see what the comparisons look like.
  2. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
  3. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    On the Luminous Landscape site they did an in-depth review of the Nex7 that include comparisons to the M9 and GH2.
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I'd take Steve's comparisons with several grains of salt. Camera JPEGs demonstrate the quality of the engineers doing the imaging ASIC, but very little about the true quality of the two systems.

    DPReview's comparometer (Studio shot comparison: Digital Photography Review) offers the ability to compare the M9 against a number of other cameras.

    Overall though, I think you'll find it comes down to technique and lenses. The M9 has a very sharp sensor, but is difficult to focus accurately enough to take full advantage of the sensor, and the lenses vary considerably. For things like shallow depth of field, m4/3 cannot match it, but in general, m4/3 is a more versatile and practical system.

  5. speltrong

    speltrong Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Northern California
    Not to mention that for the cost of the M9, you could buy several M4/3 bodies and lenses and maybe have enough left over for a used motorcycle to expand the area of where you can shoot ;) 
  6. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Of course if you're considering using an arsenal of Leica lenses what's an extra 7 grand to get the full Leica Man experience.


    DISCLAIMER! I do use several old (very old) Leica lenses and am a closet Leicaphile.
  7. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I don't think you can compare a full frame M9 to an m43 camera of any stripe. They're just really different beasts. As a photographic tool you can make the comparison between an M82 and something like one of the Olympus PENs or Panasonic GF bodies a lot more easily as neither re full frame, they are a compact form factor and so on. That said, the Leica is RF and none of the m43 bodies at this point are.

    Now, would I pony up the money for an M8.2 vs a Pen/GF? No, probably not. The ease with which I can adapt the m43 bodies to manual focus lenses (like say a Summicron) and the much MUCH lower price would be significant factors for me.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Leica is a beautiful machine provided one knows how to use it. U should have patience and technique to master it . Unfortunately we are all living a world where technology is changing so fast . Other camera manufacturer's are offering u much better products at much better rates. Now being cheap doesn't mean they are cheap .Just imagine if Olympus P3 was for USD 5999 with Titanium body etc etc ? Then it would have been a better camera? No , We are just impressed by the heft price tag and the ego associated with using Leica . Drop the price to USD 2000 range ur interest will also drop .
    Leica is like an old era titanium type writer and we are in a wolrd where we have moved to a different level .
  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I don't see why full-frame makes them incomparable. At the end of the day, they're cameras and their primary purpose is to take photos.

    The Leica has the distinction of not being a mass-produced item, but that doesn't necessarily have much bearing on the quality of its output.

  10. yottavirus

    yottavirus Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2011
    The new fuji interchangeable lens rangefinder style is proof against that.
  11. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    I have both. There is no comparison. The M9 has a vastly superior output at any ISO. More detail. More dynamic range. More bit depth. The shadow detail in the M9 files is incredible. Even the "cheap" CV and Zeiss lenses are better than the best m4/3 glass. Leica glass is in another place altogether. They only areas where m4/3 is superior is the place the M9 can't go. Macro, long lenses and zooms. With equivalent lenses the M9 out resolves the Canon 5D2 all the time and the Nikon d3X some of the time.

    I'm not saying that m4/3 is bad. It isn't. But the M9 is on another level. However if you need long zooms and a macro system the M9 is crap.

    • Like Like x 1
  12. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    In film days did we compare an Olympus OM1 to a Hasselblad or a Nikon FM2 to a Mamiya RB67? Maybe we did and I just don't remember. :confused: 
  13. pawzitiv

    pawzitiv Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2010
    You would have to first establish by what parameters you define image quality. 100% crops on screen or 13x19 prints? You might be surprised just how good a print you can get from :43:.
  14. Herb

    Herb Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 16, 2011
    Leica M9 vs m4/3

    Exactly my reason for the post in the first place. I have a 5dII, but it is not convenient to use. I also have 4x5 and 5x7 cameras, and an 8x10 in the studio. None of those are getting into the field much.
    I think I will find the time to do a comparison between my 5dII and the G3 I have, printing 11x17 prints on 13x19 paper.
    That is about my maximum size most of the time, and it is ok for competitions in galleries
    good to hear all the responses.
  15. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I am sort of lucky that my partner has an M9 and a M8 and fine collection of the lenses, which I get to play with.

    The lenses are stunning, there is no doubt about that.... but as for the body.... well it is big bulky and the whole system seems to be fragile and just outdated in its execution as a DIGITAL camera.

    At the end of the day a camera is just a mechanism for the photographer to create satisfying images.

    here are some images that satisfy me.. one was take with an M8, one with a Leica Designed Panasonic lens on a 4/3 camera, one with a f/1.0 Noctilux on a E-P1, one with the E-p1 and the 20mm pancake and one with a Olympis 45 on a GH2…oh and one on a Canon 5D Mk2…. which one is which ?

    too cute #2 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    Learning #2 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    Across a crowded room by kevinparis, on Flickr

    cousin and another cousins child by kevinparis, on Flickr

    Respect by kevinparis, on Flickr

    the roadie by kevinparis, on Flickr


    • Like Like x 5
  16. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    kevinparis: I totally have no idea which is taken with which combo. Heh..I'd love to see more people try to distinguish IQ on double blind tests..
  17. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I usually agree with you, Gordon, but not this time. I've used my brother's M9 and processed the files in Lightroom. At very high ISO, eg ISO 3200 and up, I find the M9 files to be no better than my E-P3 files, which are clearly worse than the G3/GH2 files. I was surprised by this. I also disagree with the blanket statement that CV and Zeiss lenses are better than the best MFT glass. I've owned quite a few of those CV and Zeiss lenses, and I simply don't agree with the statement.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Do you have any samples to back this statement? I owned a D3X and that camera was perhaps one of the best rendering cameras I have ever used. I used it with the best Nikkor glass which includes the 85 1.4 G, 70-200 VR-II and 400mm 2.8. It's still to date the pixel-for-pixel sharpest DSLR, easily besting the 5Dm2. The only reason I got rid of it was to buy a 400mm 2.8!
  19. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Thanks Kevin for showing how much more important the photographer is than the thing he is holding in his hands.
  20. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    thanks john

    i think 2012 is going to be full of shiny new toys which will drag people all over the place searching for the holy grail.

    Its too easy to get caught up in the gear lust... we all do it... me included... but at the end of the day its the photograph that counts... and a photograph is about the subject not the pixels that make it up

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