Wide angle on M9 - comments, suggestions

Discussion in 'Leica M Camera Forum' started by carlb, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. carlb

    carlb Leica Place Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 1, 2013
    I'm thinking about saving up for a used M9 and a wide-angle lens.

    I enjoy shooting scenery, often wide-angle. Is this a "classic" application for the M9 with the right lens?

    What is the widest angle that can be accommodated by the stock viewfinder? What options are there for reducing the viewfinder magnification to match that of a given lens?

    Should I also consider an M-E? A possible "why not:" I do really like the M9's Kodak sensor (experience with Kodak sensors from the Oly E1 and E500), even with its limitations.

    Thanks much for your ideas and comments.
  2. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    The M9 and M-E have framelines out to 28mm built-in. I use a V3 28/2.8 Elmarit, was under $1000. Very sharp, suits the M9 well.

    Getting an M9- best to get a warranty, or have inspect and return privilege. Used prices are dipping below $4,000 from individuals. Camera shops, a bit more- but a warranty is typically included. Some sell extended warranties for used gear. I bought a 3-year extended warranty for my used M8. Never had to use it, but was piece of mind.

    The M-E: Kodak and others are always "tweeking" sensors throughout their run. Rule-of-thumb- later revs of hardware is usually better, a late-run M9's and M-E benefit from this rule. My later-run M9 is very good at ISO 2500, can not see why Leica did not take it to 5000.
  3. CaptZoom

    CaptZoom Leica Place Regular

    Apr 11, 2013
    I use an M9. As previously mentioned the widest frame lines on the M9 are for 28mm lenses. However, you really have to get your eyes right into the viewfinder to see them. 35mm is a lot easier to see. This only important if you do no cropping in post. Of the current production lenses, the Leica 28mm f/2.8 is fantastic. I believe it's the smallest lens Leica makes. The global and micro contrast is high, and the colors are deep. There's a lot of head room available for post processing. And finally, it plays well with the M9.
  4. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    I bought a 0.85x eyepiece for the wide-angle lenses on the M9. It does make it easier to see the framelines. There is some geometric distortion at the edges, but better than not seeing them with my thick glasses.
  5. flash

    flash Leica Place Regular

    Mar 30, 2013
    If you go really really wide, using an accessory finder isn't an issue. I just dont bother to focus my 12mm Voigtlander much of the time. 1 meter and f8 does pretty much everything. I do need to focus my 21mm but over time I've gotten good enough at visualising the angle of view that I can shoot without a viewfinder and fix minor framing issues in post. Coming from an SLR it does take a bit of getting used to that there's no precise framing using a rangefinder.

    The M-E, M9 and M9p have the same sensor and colour. You either have a usd for the frame lever (I use mine all the time) or you don't. The M9p is the best looking of the three IMHO.

  6. Mijo

    Mijo Leica Place Veteran

    Apr 11, 2013
    San Francisco
    +1 for the elmarit 28mm, I have / like that lens as well (particularly for landscape). IMO my M-E and the 28mm is a better combination, in terms of color, than my OMD-EM5 and any of my WA m4/3 lenses (oly12, pany 7-14, cv 17.5, oly17/1.8).

    I agree with Gordon that the M9P is the way to go, as far as bang for the buck. When I bought my new M-E, used M9Ps were at or slightly higher in cost (before the release of the new M).
  7. usayit

    usayit Leica Place Regular Subscribing Member

    Mar 31, 2013
    Northern NJ
    28mm never "spoke" to me but the 28mm Elmarits are well known for IQ and compact packaging. Its the widest frameline on the M9. You can't reduce magnification on the viewfinder to go wider than the viewfinder itself using an eyepiece. The extra optics would need to be mounted on the other side similar to that of the bug-eye 35mm summarons and summicrons for the M3. As far as I know, they don't exist. Often people do reduce the magnification on viewfinders to aid in the use of the 28mm framelines. This is especially true for eye-glass wearers. You can use external viewfinders or simply pre-visualize.

    Voigtlander 12mm Heliar on an M9 has color caste issues at the edges of frame... magenta and green. My earlier LTM version is not rangefinder coupled but its not big deal at this focal length. Here's a sample I use when someone is curious:


    It does still get some use from me though. You just have to be conscious about it and work it at times:


    or shoot B&W


    By far my most used wide angle on the M9 is the 24mm Elmarit. Its just wide enough that it works space into the frame very well.... I like to say story telling lens. Not so wide that the distortion at the edges are obvious to the viewer. You can easily pre-visualize the 24mm on the M9 very easily. I also do use the external viewfinder that originally was intended for my Panasonic LX3. Its a fraction of the cost of the equivalent voigtlander or leica 24mm finder.
  8. flash

    flash Leica Place Regular

    Mar 30, 2013
    do you code your 12mm? My copy is no where near as bad as your samples. It still has some red edge on the left hand side. But it's easily corrected in post. Try coding it as a 21mm Elmarit.

  9. ajramirez

    ajramirez Leica Place Veteran

    Mar 30, 2013
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    For wide I use a 24mm 3.8 Elmar and 18mm 4.0 ZM Distagon and swear by both. Sharp and very much distortionless. I code the 18mm as a 21mm ASPH.

  10. carlb

    carlb Leica Place Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 1, 2013
    Thanks very much for all the ideas and information!

    So, I finally "pulled the trigger" ... on something slightly different. Well, pretty close though. :)

    I'll start another thread toward that.