We've provided this printable version of our review for your convenience. Please remember that your shopping clicks support this site. If you think this camera is a good choice for you, please consider returning to the link below to check prices and make a purchase via our shopping links.

Also note that this is just one of the pages from this review. Full reviews have several pages with complete analysis of the many test shots we take with each camera. Feel free to download and print them out to see how the camera will perform for you.

Full Review at: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/M9/M9A.HTM

Like this camera?
Save money online!
Prices as of 08/21/2014
Save Money!
Leica M9

No price data available. Check back soon.

Leica M9 Performance


Timing and Performance

Mixed performance, but generally slow.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~0.8 second

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~0.1 second

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.

Buffer clearing time
28 seconds after 7 large/fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
22 seconds after 8 RAW files*
49 seconds after 7 RAW+ LF JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup was reasonable though slow compared to most DSLRs, but shutdown was almost instantaneous. Buffer clearing times were very slow even with a fast card.


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

0.13 second
Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~1 / ~9 seconds
Time to display a large/fine JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.2 second
Time to display a large/fine JPEG file already on the memory card.

Mode switching was very fast, except for Record to Play which took about 9 seconds to display a high-resolution thumbnail (a lower resolution version appears first after about 1 second).


Shutter Response (Lag Time)
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
n/a
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. (All lag timing performed with the Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 lens.)
Full Autofocus,
Multi-area AF mode
n/a
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.
Continuous AF
n/a
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
0.125 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

"Prefocused"

0.125 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Leica M9 does not autofocus. Shutter lag was a consistent 0.125 second from a full or half-press of the shutter release. That's not bad for manual focus shutter lag, though it's not as fast as most CSCs and DSLRs when prefocused.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/fine JPEG

0.63 second

Time per shot, averaged over 7 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.66 second

Time per shot, averaged over 8 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW + LF JPEG
0.64 second

Time per shot, averaged over 7 shots.

Early shutter
penalty?

YES
(before the shutter is completely re-cocked)

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous Mode
Large/fine JPEG

0.59 second (1.69 frames per second);
7 frames total;
28 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 7 shots, then slows to an average of about 4.22s or 0.24 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous Mode
RAW

0.59 second (1.70 frames per second);
8 frames total;
22 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 8 shots, then slows to an average of about 3.00s or 0.33 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous Mode
RAW + LF JPEG

0.59 second (1.69 frames per second);
7 frames total;
49 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 7 frames, then slows to 7.26s or 0.14 fps when buffer is full.

Flash Recycling

N/A

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were decent, ranging from 0.63 to 0.66 second before the buffer filled. Continuous mode was quite sluggish at about 1.7 frames per second. (Leica advertises approximately 2 frames per second.) Buffer depths were 7 to 8 frames which is pretty shallow. Buffer clearing was very slow even with a fast card. We clocked 49 seconds after 7 RAW + L/F JPEG frames. It's interesting to note that shooting just RAW files resulted in the best buffer depth and clearing time, so the M9's JPEG processing appears to be a bottleneck.

Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

7,915 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Download speeds were pretty good at almost 8MB/s. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card: Slower cards may show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, the Leica M9 is no speed demon to put it mildly, but then again we suspect most rangefinder photographers don't expect it to be.

Battery

Battery Life
Decent battery life for its size.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Still Capture,
(CIPA standard)
350

The Leica M9 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and charger. The CIPA rated 350 shots per charge is about average compared to compact system cameras, but keep in mind the M9 does not support autofocus, live view, or a built-in flash which all draw power, so battery life isn't really comparable to CSCs. As is usually the case, we recommend getting a second battery if you plan any extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))