I'm on the fence: M9 or M10 aka "M"
Old 07-12-2014   #1
ellisson
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I'm on the fence: M9 or M10 aka "M"

I am ready to go full frame and higher resolution. I have considerable experience with the M8, but not with the M9/M9P or the so called "M". Is the "M" that much better than the M9? My question to those who have used both cameras, which do you prefer, and is the "M" preferable with its viewfinder and higher resolution screen? I will likely purchase one of these in the coming weeks.

I may be confusing the 'M" with the M240. It is the M240 that I am considering versus an M9.

I would be most appreciative of your opinions!
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Last edited by ellisson : 07-12-2014 at 14:56. Reason: May have camera names incorrect
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Old 07-12-2014   #2
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If 7K is no big deal for you then go for the big M, it's a better camera! As for the m9, it's a very capable camera that I cannot really think of anything to complain about
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Old 07-12-2014   #3
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The M is exponentially better than the M9. If money is not an issue, you should go with the M.
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Old 07-12-2014   #4
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Aesthetically, the M240 looks more like the M8. The M9/P files look more like the M8.
The M240 has the current in vogue features.
You can buy a CPO M240 for under 6K in the US.
If you can get to an actual Leica Store you can try before you buy.
A definite plus because you should like the files right of the camera for any camera you buy.
I chose the M9P because the image files remind me of slide film - especially Kodachrome 64.
Hope that helps.
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Old 07-12-2014   #5
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Thank you, all. This does help greatly.
I do like slide film...used to shoot a lot of medium format with slide film for the colors. Under 6K for a preowned would be better than the new price for the M240, but I am not that far from a Leica store, so trying out is a good idea. The M9P file look of slide film is appealing to me, so not ruled out! And I think I saw these for 4500-5500 used.
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Old 07-12-2014   #6
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I was recently on the same dilema.... and ended getting the m240.

I was able to test an m9 only before making up my mind, and the slowness of it as high iso made me change my mind. The m9 has beatiful colors at base iso, but the m240 as i see it, also has them and much more...(I went for the m240)
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Old 07-12-2014   #7
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Getting an M9 and having enough left over for a really good ASPH lens (or an M9 plus a trip to Europe) would be really tempting. If you can live with shooting at a max of ISO 1600 (and being very careful about exposure in that ISO range) then an M9 still rocks. My main worry with the M9 would be future problems with sensor repair and other various parts.
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Old 07-12-2014   #8
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My M9 has a defective sensor. I am not the only person who has an M9 with a defective sensor. Check out the likelihood of a defective sensor in the M240.
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Old 07-12-2014   #9
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All digital cameras depreciate. The M240 is at the beginning of its lifecycle so unless you really, really need what it offers (a bit more resolution, higher ISO range and cleaner), why spend the extra?

Leica M9 sales are under $3500 all the time now. While everything depreciates, I think the M9 won't be dipping below $2500-3000 for a long time, so it's a good time to buy.
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Old 07-12-2014   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
My M9 has a defective sensor. I am not the only person who has an M9 with a defective sensor. Check out the likelihood of a defective sensor in the M240.
The sensor on mine was replaced a couple of months ago (right before I was ready to sell it, then had sellers remorse). I have no idea if the replacement sensors are prone to the same failures as the original. As for the M240, it may be too soon to tell - the M9 failures probably didn't start happening until they had been in the field for a while.
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Old 07-12-2014   #11
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If I was in your situation, I'd go for an M9 with some level of warranty, then use the extra cash on lens. Since you are going FF, you might want to give a thought to your lens line-up. M9's pricing is very (relatively speaking in the world of Leica) attractive now.
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Old 07-12-2014   #12
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I'm a relatively new owner of an M240 and still as yet haven't sold my M9. Here are my thoughts:

-The M240's jpegs are beautiful. OTOH it is virtually mandatory to shoot DNG with the M9.

-The M240's shutter makes a soft click almost like a film M, and there is no jarring motor sound after the shot as there is with the M9 (even if you delay it with discrete mode).

-The M240's tripod thread is part of the body (there's a hole in the baseplate, a la Leicaflex SL). The M9's tripod thread is part of the baseplate and puts a lot of torque on it.

-The M240 is several ounces heavier than the M9, and although it really isn't much deeper, it feels like it is because of the thumb rest which changes the ergonomics more than you'd think such a little blip could do.

-The M240 lacks a frame line preview lever. Not a biggie if you never used one, but for a veteran Leica M user like myself who got used to using it, the absence is annoying until you get used to it.

-Battery life is better with the M240, however the battery is twice the size of the M9's and costs almost $200!

-There are quite a few reports of the M9's sensor glass either cracking or the coating becoming crazed, or lines of dead pixels necessitatating sensor replacement. Leica has stepped up and replaced them free out of warranty, but their turnaround time can be quite long.

-I can't detect any improvement in clarity or accuracy of the M240's rangefinder as some have claimed. But maybe it's more resistant to going out of adjustment. However my M9 has never gone out.

-The M240 is available in silver chrome finish. To get that in an M9 you'll have to spend on a "P".

-The M240's LCD is Gorilla Glass like some smartphones, whereas the M9's is plastic. If you want sapphire (much more resistant than Gorilla), again, you'll need to spend on an M9P or have an M9 upgraded (if they still do that). Personally I do not and never did think the M9P was worth the added cost when it is the same IQ and a screen protector costs a few bucks.

-A used M9 or M9P will not have a warranty, and if something major goes wrong that Leica won't goodwill, then you could end up paying close to the cost of a demo M240 and not ever recoup it if you sell.

-Supposedly the M240 is better sealed. Maybe it is under the buttons and switches, but otherwise I can't see any gasketing anywhere. I would not consider it "weather sealed" in the way of top-end Nikon and Canons.

-It does have live view, provision for an EVF, and a video mode. Personally I won't ever use the latter, and the latest firmware allows disabling of it's button as well as the button for live view. I really don't care much about live view, but it does let me mount my 400mm Visoflex lens, and use M lenses with extension for close work. It also lets me use my old Nikkor lenses. I still prefer to use manual lenses on a traditional SLR, but it's a convenience. The Leica EVF is hell expensive, but the Olympus EVF2 works and is a fraction of the cost.
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Old 07-13-2014   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Z View Post
I'm a relatively new owner of an M240 and still as yet haven't sold my M9. Here are my thoughts:

-The M240's jpegs are beautiful. OTOH it is virtually mandatory to shoot DNG with the M9.

-The M240's shutter makes a soft click almost like a film M, and there is no jarring motor sound after the shot as there is with the M9 (even if you delay it with discrete mode).

-The M240's tripod thread is part of the body (there's a hole in the baseplate, a la Leicaflex SL). The M9's tripod thread is part of the baseplate and puts a lot of torque on it.

-The M240 is several ounces heavier than the M9, and although it really isn't much deeper, it feels like it is because of the thumb rest which changes the ergonomics more than you'd think such a little blip could do.

-The M240 lacks a frame line preview lever. Not a biggie if you never used one, but for a veteran Leica M user like myself who got used to using it, the absence is annoying until you get used to it.

-Battery life is better with the M240, however the battery is twice the size of the M9's and costs almost $200!

-There are quite a few reports of the M9's sensor glass either cracking or the coating becoming crazed, or lines of dead pixels necessitatating sensor replacement. Leica has stepped up and replaced them free out of warranty, but their turnaround time can be quite long.

-I can't detect any improvement in clarity or accuracy of the M240's rangefinder as some have claimed. But maybe it's more resistant to going out of adjustment. However my M9 has never gone out.

-The M240 is available in silver chrome finish. To get that in an M9 you'll have to spend on a "P".

-The M240's LCD is Gorilla Glass like some smartphones, whereas the M9's is plastic. If you want sapphire (much more resistant than Gorilla), again, you'll need to spend on an M9P or have an M9 upgraded (if they still do that). Personally I do not and never did think the M9P was worth the added cost when it is the same IQ and a screen protector costs a few bucks.

-A used M9 or M9P will not have a warranty, and if something major goes wrong that Leica won't goodwill, then you could end up paying close to the cost of a demo M240 and not ever recoup it if you sell.

-Supposedly the M240 is better sealed. Maybe it is under the buttons and switches, but otherwise I can't see any gasketing anywhere. I would not consider it "weather sealed" in the way of top-end Nikon and Canons.

-It does have live view, provision for an EVF, and a video mode. Personally I won't ever use the latter, and the latest firmware allows disabling of it's button as well as the button for live view. I really don't care much about live view, but it does let me mount my 400mm Visoflex lens, and use M lenses with extension for close work. It also lets me use my old Nikkor lenses. I still prefer to use manual lenses on a traditional SLR, but it's a convenience. The Leica EVF is hell expensive, but the Olympus EVF2 works and is a fraction of the cost.

For anyone considering these two options, as the OP is, this is the most informative unbiased post I've read here.

Thanks Ben.
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Old 07-13-2014   #14
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Many thanks to all for your thoughts and experience with these digital leicas. Fortunately, I'm not that far from the New York Leica Store, so I will be able to get a feel for the M9 and M240. But longer term experience, as provided here, will help me greatly in the decision. I'd like to go with a used camera, but having a warranty - the advantage of buying new or perhaps certified preowned - seems to be important.

And once I enter the Leica store and actually hold and try out these excellent cameras, I will be at great risk! For buying new that is!! Oh boy....
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Old 07-13-2014   #15
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Over a year ago as I traveled in Tuscany with my family, I used ISO640 as my max setting at night with a 35/1.4 Lux, and I discussed it in my thread about my trip.It was sufficient.
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Old 07-13-2014   #16
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Never used a 240 but had a loaner M9 from Leica while trying to decide if I was going to put it in the budget. Liked the ergonomics of the M9 but hated using it tbh. Inadequate buffer, red fringing, poor hi iso performance etc.. If I could justify the 240, and it is a bit fatter, I would grab this over the M9.

Unlike some here, I'm glad they incorporated video into the new camera, it's a feature I'm sure many photojournalists would use. I would use it for some of my work but ymmv.

A colleague had his M9 stolen while working and while he now uses a 240, there are times he misses the M9 files, esp when converted to greyscale.
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Old 07-13-2014   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
Over a year ago as I traveled in Tuscany with my family, I used ISO640 as my max setting at night with a 35/1.4 Lux, and I discussed it in my thread about my trip.It was sufficient.
I rarely use ISO greater than 640 on my M8, so even getting to 1600 would be high for my normal shooting, usually street photography. I guess I do not really need to get to high ISOs, certainly not above what I shoot with film - mostly 400 - on my good old M3! So high ISO capability (without a lot of noise) in my camera buying decision will not be a major factor, although it certainly is a nice option to have it.
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Old 07-13-2014   #18
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I have an M9 (bought used) and it does everything I need. I don't feel any need to upgrade to an M (aka M240). As I also have the MM, I just love to have two identical camera bodies and don't have to adjust to differences in menues and other handling. And they use the same batteries.

Having said that, if I was in the market for new ff digital RF, I'd go for the M.
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Old 07-13-2014   #19
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i prefer the image quality of the m9 by far. had the m240 for a while but sold it. the evf is a joke, the iq is generic. for me, the m9 is the better tool.
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Old 07-13-2014   #20
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nice fence...
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Old 07-13-2014   #21
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i prefer the image quality of the m9 by far. had the m240 for a while but sold it. the evf is a joke, the iq is generic. for me, the m9 is the better tool.
+1

Anyone knows hot to get "slide film" colors from the M9?

Maybe is useful for the OP.
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Old 07-13-2014   #22
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Old 07-13-2014   #23
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Been using an m9 for a year and it's terrific. You can see pics on my flickr if you fancy.
I'd like a bit more high iso, really to allow the ability to use more depth of field when there's little light.
Not used a m240. Saw someone with one. It's quiet, which is nice if you come from a film M.
Either'll be pretty good.
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Old 07-13-2014   #24
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I've had the M9 since 2012. It is a fine camera. However, I've almost completely stopped using it.

Why? I have a bunch of Leica R lenses. I bought a Sony A7 so that I could use them with a nice sized body and TTL viewing, full frame format as they were designed for originally. I like these lenses more than I like the lenses I was able to afford that work best for the M9. I thought I might buy the M (type 240) to use them after I saw how they worked with the A7, but I can't really see how they would work any better. I prefer TTL, SLR type viewing and focusing over RF most of the time.

The difference between the M9 and M sensor ... I hear so much ballyhoo about it, yet nothing I've seen really convinces me that the M9 imaging is so superior. To me, they both produce the raw material that I can craft my photos of.

I played with an M again recently. If I had to do it all over again and was faced with the question of whether to buy an M9 or an M, and could afford either with two new Leica lenses (28 and 50), I'd buy the M in a heartbeat. The body just works that much better.

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Old 07-13-2014   #25
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M9 is a great deal now. Not to hard to find one with a new sensor for around 3200.

In daylight, nothing comes close IMHO.

A7 is good backup camera for M9 and maybe better for low light, and longer glass.

Last night I shot an event, for M9 I shot 21, 28 and 35, with A7 I used mostly 85 and 135.
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M9's Goiing for $4000 or Less with Warranty
Old 07-13-2014   #26
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M9's Goiing for $4000 or Less with Warranty

Bought an M9 in January primarily because I had five M mount lenses and wanted to move into the modern age. I paid about $4000 and it had just been CLA'd by Leitz. . You can find mint M9's at Tamarkin and elsewhere for $4000 with a warranty.

Was not sure I was ready to go digital as my only experience was the X100 shooting JPEG's. I thought $4000 was okay but this is only one of my hobbies. And really enjoying LR and it's capabilities shooting raw on the M9. Have no need to upgrade to M.

If I want video, I have an X100. Now I do have several R lenses and for those that do not duplicate the focal lengths I have with M lenses, I would probably get a Sony and R adopter which would be cheaper then an M and give me an extra digital body.

Higher ISO would be nice but I still shoot a lot of TriX with the M2 for available darkness photography using fast lenses. If that were an issue, the newest Sony A7 does things Leica can only dream about.

Don't plan on upgrading any time soon. In fact, am thinking I might leave the M9 at home and take the M2 for an upcoming 90 day trip to Europe. Admittedly, I enjoy all things analog compared to digital.
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Old 07-13-2014   #27
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I started with a used M9 in late 2010 when they were still difficult to find new, and lenses were really scarce (at sane prices)... then early this year I finally took the plunge on a demo M240 (and saved about $1000).

Between the two, you're not going to see significant differences in image quality at lower ISOs. The M9 will have a punchier look due to it's narrower dynamic range (it's quick to clip highlights), whereas the M240 has a somewhat flatter look, but can be easily tweaked in post to match the M9. As my processing tastes evolved with the M9, I found I frequently lowered its contrast quite a lot, so I guess the M240 is a good fit for me. M9 files will look sharper out of the box, but my argument is that's somewhat due to fine detail aliasing that gives the impression of higher than actual detail/sharpness through 'false' image detail. The M240's files in comparison, look a bit softer, but take sharpening very well. At higher ISOs, which you indicated wasn't such a priority, the M240 has much better control over colour noise and is pretty competitive with current generation cameras.

Which one to go with, I think will depend a lot on your shooting style. Particularly, how you work with the camera.

I come from 20+ years of SLR/DSLR photography and as a result, shoot a lot and rapidly during outings/events. I always found the M9 a bit laggy and sometimes like I was a half step behind the action while waiting for it. Sure, a lot about rangefinder photography is mastering the art of anticipation, but some things are difficult to predict and I value a camera that is ready quickly for the next shot when 'under fire.' In this respect, the M240 is significantly better and more refined. First of all, it doesn't sound terrible like the M9's clunky-buzzy shutter system. It's much smoother and less noticeable/distracting. And it's way faster at getting to the next shot. Even though on paper it's only a difference of 2 fps vs. ~3fps, it feels like a world of difference to me. Having recently gotten back into shooting weddings, I primarily use the M240 along with a DSLR, with the M9 along on occasion. Whenever I shoot with the M9, it's immediately obvious how much slower it is. And the buffer is much shallower too. Then there are a host of M9 quirks, at least with mine, such as random, progressively worse image banding as the buffer fills and the camera is under greater electronic stress. Not to say the M240 is perfect... It's not. During every wedding it lock-ups 3-4 times where I have to reboot by popping its battery. I also have to force myself to remember not to press any buttons while the buffer is cleaning to the card, as it will lockout the shutter release and sometimes will freeze the camera. In contrast, with my Canons, I can review an image whenever I desire, which is handy for immediately confirming proper exposure in tricky lighting situations, etc..

I have never used an M8, but I suspect the M9 is very much an M8, but full frame. In this respect, if you liked the M8, you may be right at home with the M9. The M240 is a pretty big step up (improvement) in terms of Leica's electronics capability and functionality. But image quality differences will be splitting hairs, for the most part.

If you're a fairly casual shooter, rarely in a rush and often at base ISO, then a used M9 might be the way to go, since they can be found in the low 3000s.

That said, I'd love to pick up a second M240 in place of my M9 for use during gigs....
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Old 07-13-2014   #28
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I don't feel the charm with the digital M. But I hope that you buy the right one for you!
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Old 07-14-2014   #29
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I am ready to go full frame and higher resolution.
If you want full frame for lens choice etc., either option will do just fine. If you want higher resolution, it is better to skip the M9 and go with the M. There is obviously a difference going from M8 to M9, but it is generally not very significant. The gain between M9 and M is insignificant, but the step from M8 to M starts to make a real difference. Megapixel count is a simple number, but it can fool the reader. The real difference is in the linear resolution, i.e., what you gain for a single dimension of the image. M8 to M9 is about +30%; M9 to M is about +15%; M8 to M is about +50%.
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Old 07-14-2014   #30
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I have no experience of the M8 and extremely limited experience of the M9 (a limited experience which I quite enjoyed, taking a few shots with a friend's M9). My intention was to wait for an M9 at an affordable price. However, just about the time that happened (for my personal value of "affordable") I came into circumstances which allowed me to purchase an M type 240. While I have no real experience of the alternatives, I have to say I'm very happy with my digital M and expect to use it for a great many more years - perhaps more than I might if I'd gone with the M9. Given that I'm happy working with other "obsolete" yet (for me) "good enough" cameras, I can't imagine any reason to upgrade from my M type 240 for many, many years as I'm more than happy with it's output.

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Old 07-14-2014   #31
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I own an M9. I've only shot a few frames with the 240 in the store. Granted not enough to form a firm opinion of the 240.

Thus far, I have not been convinced from reading various reviews and seeing numerous examples to move to a 240.

However, the opinions are all over the place.

I do not envy your position.
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Old 07-14-2014   #32
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Have the M9. Like it a lot.

Bought the M240. Nice camera but I sent it back. M240 didn't look any better at 16x20.

Still have the M9. Like it a lot.
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Old 07-15-2014   #33
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Image quality is moot nowadays, one can buy a 1000$ camera and get the same level of quality as a D800, at least for all practical purposes like printing to a normal size.

Somehow I miss the real advantages of the M240 in this discussion:

1. Better, more accurate and more shock-resistant rangefinder.
2. Better viewfinder experience by better framelines.
3. More silent shutter.
4. Vastly improved LCD.
5. The option to use about any lens out there by the auxiliary EVF.
6. Weathersealed.
7. Real spot metering and semi matrix metering, classic as well.
8. Not for everybody but handy to many - Video and Liveview that can be switched off.
9. More stable firmware, more reliable in general.
10.Better battery life.
11.Black cameras: More resistant coating.
12.Improved user interface in the menus.
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Old 07-15-2014   #34
Ben Z
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1. Better, more accurate and more shock-resistant rangefinder.
I find it no more better or more accurate than my M9, they look and work identically to me. If it's really more shock resistent, wonderful
2. Better viewfinder experience by better framelines.
Again, I haven't found it so. They are usually a tad too bright and intrusive for my taste, and the calibration back to 2m just means re-learning new framing guesstimation all over again. I wish Leica would pick one and leave it there.
3. More silent shutter.
I mentioned that, and to me it's one of 2 main reasons I bought the M240 and think it's a big improvement over the M9.
4. Vastly improved LCD.
I'll have to take your word for that. I never use it for anything but the menus, and I left the factory screen protector on it so far.
5. The option to use about any lens out there by the auxiliary EVF.
Agreed. Although I still prefer to do that on my 5D. To me the main advantage of the EVF is not needing to carry 12, 15 and 21mm auxiliary finders and switch them each time along with the lenses.
6. Weathersealed.
I mentioned that also, but I'm taking it with a grain of salt. The clip-on cover for the EVF port is hardly hermetic, and I don't see any more sealing around the baseplate than the M9 has. It might be better sealed than the M9 but I'm not totally convinced it deserves to be called weathersealed.
7. Real spot metering and semi matrix metering, classic as well.
I was excited about that until I discovered it entails an additional opening and closing of the shutter. I have it disabled, and so far my years of experience with the "classic" Leica metering has gotten me as good of exposures as I could want
8. Not for everybody but handy to many - Video and Liveview that can be switched off.
Agreed. Very happy the latest firmware allows them to be switched off.
9. More stable firmware, more reliable in general.
It definintely seems so. Very welcome.
10.Better battery life.
I mentioned that, but pointed out that the M240's battery is nearly double the girth of the M9's and costs not quite double, so the advantage in less-frequent changes has trade offs
11.Black cameras: More resistant coating.
Didn't know that! Anyway, after having black M6's, 7's, MP's, M8 and M9 I decided to go with silver this time.
12.Improved user interface in the menus.[/quote]
It's different than the M9. Not sure I like it any better. I liked the M9's button/wheel arrangement better than the M240 with the wheel removed to a separate location. I'm really not warming up to that thumb wheel or the hump.
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Old 07-15-2014   #35
jaapv
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Rangefinder accuracy: it is a fact, although Leica does not push it. The design has been slightly altered and the build tolerances narrowed. Result: my hit rate (already good) has gone to close to 100%.
Gear lash has been eliminated too.

The main reliability improvement is the vertical adjustment. Instead of the adjustment fork which could be knocked out of kilter by a shock there is vastly more stable set screw.

I guess the framelines are a personal thing, but they are better defined and have a constant brightness (ambient light adjusted) I agree they are a bit intrusive in white, but I am a big fan of setting them to red.

A drawback btw might be that it took me quite some effort to harness the colour in postprocessing. I now have it down just fine and prefer it to the M9.
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Old 07-15-2014   #36
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Very glad to hear that about the rangefinder. Maybe why I haven't noticed any improvement in accuracy is because I fine-tuned my M9 rangefinder myself to a very tight tolerance. Perhaps the new design also helps Leica circumvent some human error so that the M240's leave the factory with their rangefinders more consistently within specs than they did when the M9 was in production. Improvement in the vertical stability is much welcomed, because even if misalignment doesn't mess up focus accurace, it is quite annoying.

I tried the lines in red but found them more difficult to see. And disturbing/distracting, after so many years with various rangefinders all with white(ish) frames.

I have not had to post process the color at all so far. I shot a ton of photos over the weekend of my daughter-in-law and grandson, indoors and out, with AWB and jpeg-fine set to "standard"-everything, and the colors and skin tones are gorgeous. I was amazed at how much better the M240's jpeg processing is than the M9's. I could easily print any of those images with little or no color adjustment and no further sharpening, and the dynamic range outdoors at mid-day under the tropical sun was surprisingly accomodating too.
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Old 07-15-2014   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Z View Post
Very glad to hear that about the rangefinder. Maybe why I haven't noticed any improvement in accuracy is because I fine-tuned my M9 rangefinder myself to a very tight tolerance.
Is this fairly easy to do?
Do you mind sharing the steps?
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Old 07-15-2014   #38
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Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
A drawback btw might be that it took me quite some effort to harness the colour in postprocessing. I now have it down just fine and prefer it to the M9.
Perhaps you can start a separate thread on your M240 postprocessing? That would likely be of interest to many.

Thanks,
Stephen
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Old 07-15-2014   #39
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I just bought the 240 after having the ME. Frankly, the 240 is what a digital Leica should've been in the first place. If you're not jerking off in the Leica echo chamber about the CCD images vs CMOS, you'll absolutely love it. I purchased a blem from pop flash...can't find the blem for the life of me but wherever it is it was worth $1k to someone. My win.
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Old 07-15-2014   #40
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Perhaps you can start a separate thread on your M240 postprocessing? That would likely be of interest to many.

Thanks,
Stephen
Yes, absolutely. That would be great!
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